So you want to cover yourself with an in car camera system? There’s no point in spending hundreds on the best dash cam for car while most of the lower-priced models are more than adequate for your needs. But, dashcams come in various designs and versions, from the multifunctional dual camera dash cam to the discretely hidden car camera if you want something that people won’t notice. Although the vehicle camcorder is still rather a rarity in the United States, major electronics brands like Sony, Kenwood, and others have joined the bandwagon. And why not? Drivers are starting to change minds about the advantages of having dashboard cam footage available. In any case, who would overlook the chance to have the best car camera recorder footage evidence that they were not at fault during an incident?
In the real world, we would not need dashboard cameras. Unfortunately, ours isn’t an ideal world. And due to reckless drivers, insurance scammers, and natural disasters like huge rocks rolling down the hillside onto the highway, sales for the best front and rear dash cam have been rising as they roll. That’s not all. We have some insightful dashboard camera resources, including these irresistible dash cam with parking mode offers and the most affordable dash cam for truckers. Meanwhile, we bring you the best dash cam for car deals in this round-up. We’ll also help you understand what a dashcam is, its benefits, the available types, factors that make a good unit, and the cost of dash cam among other things.
What Is a Dash Camera?
Dash cameras are extremely useful gadgets that have been a typical drill in cars, taxis, police, driving instructors, and buses. But lately, regular drivers are also starting to leverage their benefits. These units have helped a lot of drivers that automakers should consider making them a standard feature when you purchase a vehicle. However, that’s a topic for a different day.
The best dash cam for car or simply dash camera is an electronic device for recording detailed events of what happens on the freeway as you drive. This gives you evidence of the occurrences and who to blame should there be an incident like a collision where you must ascertain culpability. Apart from this universal purpose, some people use the gadgets to replay road trips and recreate those scenic views. Note that dash cams are not just for taking highway videos. Some dashcam systems can capture surveillance footage around the vehicle with the engine off. Look for a dash cam with night vision feature if you need to record all night.
Benefits Of A Dash Camera
Car cameras, also called car cams, vehicle video recorders, or dash cams, are precisely what they seem. They are video cameras you install in your vehicle. But as the dashboard camera becomes an increasingly popular accessory for U.S. motorists, you are probably wondering whether you should get one. Discover the advantages of the best dash cam for car below.
Installing a dashcam in your vehicle means supportive evidence within reach in the event that you are part of an auto accident or witness it. The appliance is fixed conveniently, to observe and record all angles of what happens around your car. This way you can keep video recordings backup should you need to support any accident or non-culpability claims.
Most authorities in the United States now accept vehicle dash cam footage as evidence. It can turn out useful in preventing future incidents by reporting dangerous motorists. Driving under the influence, road rage, and other reckless behaviors behind the wheel are rampant. But the best dash cam for car can help police to bring offenders to book before the worst can happen.
- Discounted Insurance Premiums
On the bright side of things, a dashboard camera can make owning a car economical. For example, one of the cost-effective gains for you as a driver is getting reduced insurance rates. Some underwriters are recognizing the dash cam preventive role, and give a discount for drivers who install it in their vehicles.
- Promote Safe Driving
A dashboard camera power to reprimand reckless driving and reward safe habits motivates motorists to use one to make better choices. Most insurers provide proprietary car camera tech that gives you a score after each session behind the wheel. Drivers who prove to be responsible when journeying get the highest scores, effectively, reducing their insurance premiums for consistent good driving ratings.
Who Should Get The Best Dash Cam For Car Video Recording?
If your normal drive becomes a life-changing event, you will probably value having a dashboard camera to show what occurred. This seamlessly videotaping, windshield fixed device can record an incident you’re part of and provide you with indisputable evidence to share with an insurer, law enforcement, or lawyer, helping you show your innocence in the matter.
A typical case: A Carsplan.com staff was able to use her dash cam footage to demonstrate that she wasn’t to blame after she was rear ended in a gas station. Even though the front-view camera could not capture the car in back hitting her ride, she remarked that “it proved that I was driving properly, and recorded the sound, bump from impact, as well as mine and my boyfriend reactions.”
Moreover, a car cam can be useful to motorists who need unbiased eyewitness evidence after a hit and run accident, a crash, or a road-rage occurrence. It can document unsafe highway conditions or keep an eye on someone else’s driving habits, like an aging senior or a young, novice driver. Besides a dash cam might come in handy when you want to record and share an unforgettable road trip, a hilarious scene, or unusual events, such as streaking meteorites.
“There are many people who sustain injuries or get killed annually by hit and run motorists,” said Jacob Nelson, a local personal injury lawyer we talked to. “If those victims had a vehicle video recorder in their ride, maybe the footage would capture the plate number of the car that struck them, and then it would lead law enforcers to the bad guys.”
Note that the best dash cam for car video recording will not just capture other people mistakes, but it will document yours as well. Whether or not you believe you are culpable, it’s best that you first show the recording to your attorney. Let the lawyer decide whether the clip favors or doesn’t favor your case. And let them guide you on what to do with it.
Types of Dash Camera
You can use three types of gadgets as dash cameras; smartphones, digital cameras, and dedicated dash cams. If you want to install a dashboard camera that will record automatically each time you are driving, then you will need a purpose built unit. The chart below shows the three types of custom-built dash cams you can find out there.
|Interior + Exterior Dash Cams||Sophisticated Dash Cams||Basic Dashcams|
|Costliest||More costly than basic units||The least costly option|
|Surveils the exterior and interior||Sensors, GPS, and audio||Lacks advanced features|
Among car cameras, you will find some essentials only video recorders, advanced vehicle cams with cutting edge features, and those with the ability to record both the outside and inside of the automotive. As to the features to consider, that’s going to vary with your financial plan and the things you need the device to do.
1. Essential-Only Dash Cams
Basic dashboard cameras are not fancy and only record front-view footage. You can have it set to capture when the vehicle starts, giving them an “install it and forget it advantage. Essential only cameras are usually hard-wired into the electrical system of a car. Still, some designs require plugging into a 12-volt socket or cigarette lighter, and some come with in-built Li-ion batteries.
They constantly record footage and loop over old videos to create space for new footage. The integrated storage is removable allowing you maximum control over the recordings. If you are shopping on a budget and want the most affordable option, or if it sounds fair enough to you, then you’re sorted.
2. Sophisticated Dashboard Cameras
Even though most dash cams are quite simple, some pack tons of advanced features, such as:
- Uninterruptible power supply or UPS
- GPS logging
- Audio recording
- Speed sensors
You are obviously looking at costlier models in this category. GPS logging is one of the most amazing features you will find in the best dash cam for car. Gadgets with this feature have integrated GPS receivers, providing a video connection for the car’s location. It is handy when you want to establish your vehicle’s location, following an incident.
Accelerometers and speed are also beneficial. These functionalities give a record of your car’s acceleration change when another motorist was hit and how fast you were moving when the accident occurred.
The UPS lets the dashboard camera continue capturing footage even if there is a power cut. It is a useful system that allows you to use the vehicle camcorder for surveillance after parking your vehicle because it does not drain the main battery.
3. Dual Camera Dashboard Cams
Some vehicle video recorders are two dash cams in one, with the first facing the windshield and the second facing inside the automobile. Dual-recording dashboard cameras have two core functions:
- Allowing vehicle owners to place the exterior and interior of their cars under surveillance
- Allowing parents and guardians to monitor the driving behavior of their kids
A dash cam like this may be invaluable if you are a parent to a novice driver. You can keep an eye on your child’s driving habits thanks to the vehicle interior recordings with a perfect view of the driver and the front view via the windshield. The device combines these images into one footage, offering crucial evidence of the child’s unsafe or safe driving behavior to an apprehensive parent.
While this kind of parental monitoring will certainly upset any teenager who minds their privacy, it may give a chance to start a discussion about trust, privileges, privacy, and responsibilities. For example, studies by the American Family Insurance indicate that teens recorded a seventy percent reduction in dangerous driving habits after these gadgets were set up in their vehicles.
Still, the exterior and interior dash cam can be great for security reasons. You may capture recorded proof of hit and run incidents or theft if you set this camera to record while your car is parked.
Although an all purpose solution isn’t possible, you can find the best dash cam for car to fit your needs by being mindful of these features. Maybe a cheap, no-fuss gadget will do it. But if you reside in a risky neighborhood, you may be advantaged with a dual-recording car dashboard camera. You may also want to try an alternative tool, such as a smartphone app that imitates the dash cam functions.
The Research: Why You Should Trust Our Review
All our reviews are founded on practical experience, market research, and expert input. In this way, we deliver genuine, accurate insights to help you make the finest picks. We do not review and recommend gadgets because the manufacturer paid us to feature their newest product. Actually, Carsplan.com does not accept paid product reviews. On the contrary, we have a holistic-based review process.
Real world customers are vital in our approach to product reviews. Consumers are usually the most trusted reviewers because they constitute community members, working on their vehicles with an added layer of attention to detail. In addition, Carsplan has an in-house car-tech testing team to corroborate or disapprove consumer feedback.
Our team members’ opinions are backed by years of professional and industry knowledge. But we never stop with what our professionals think. Instead, we also seek the views of other industry influencers and experts concerning the latest automotive products.
How We Test Dashboard Cameras
The Ideal Dash Cam Testing Environment
Only a handful of people are as well positioned geographically as we are to test the best dash cam for car. Inside four blocks there are key 4-lane and 6-lane roads, multiple lanes for bikes, dog walkers, unnoticing pedestrians, joggers, and a major bus terminus, allowing both private and public coaches. There are never-ending near accident opportunities.
For each dashboard camera, our team mounts it in the vehicle to establish the convenience and ease of setting up. Many models use adhesive to mount to your car windshield. Hot weather can make it almost impossible to remove the adhesive’s protective film. Get a cool environment from which to remove the film or put it in the fridge for a couple of minutes before installing it.
We put each dashboard cam under numerous night and day of driving, capturing videos, and evaluating the quality of images. All the car cams we’ve reviewed in the last few years record decent daytime video. But night footage is often inundated by foggy shadows and headlight blaze. Even so, quality is improving fast, especially after the initiation of new sensors.
Installation and Testing Process
While installing each car cam, we start by evaluating the controls’ layout, the location, and size of buttons, as well as the simplicity of navigating the menus. We look at the clarity and brightness of the screen, link the display to a smartphone app where possible, and perform common tasks. Besides, we also consider the gadget construction quality plus overall design.
After that, we fix the cameras in a test car, judging how easy the mounts attach to the windshield. Then, we connect the dashboard cams to their mounts, fine-tune the aim of the recorders before removing them. Our team drives the same routes to test each camera to ensure we can accurately compare the devices to each other. We try all the features, including apps, display controls, buttons, and other functions. In addition to GPS and rear view support, the most striking disparities between these gadgets are individual interface controls and additional features like collision warnings and lane departure that you find with some models.
The last step involves playing back the footage on a PC to scrutinize and compare details as well as general image quality. Finally, we make our picks based on all of that. Note that we cannot accurately relate to you the longevity of each dash cam because our testing happens over a short period. Read user reviews on various sites while paying attention to the manufacturer’s warranty.
How We Picked
We spent over 100 hours researching the specifications and features of nearly 250 dash cameras and read reviews from top automotive tech blogs, before deciding which car cam to test. Many of the sites were lacking in hands on experience. Therefore, we watched hours of consumers’ dashboard cam footage, perused various driving regulations and insurance claims, and checked customer reviews and ratings.
Most vehicle video recorders work in a similar way. The units capture footage to a microSD card and employ loop recording where the newest video overwrites the oldest. Also, they have internal accelerometers or G-sensors for impact detection, and should a crash occur, it will auto-protect that clip from being overwritten. Usually, you can also save the footage manually, using a voice command or pressing a button. For reviewing footage, we picked models that let you use a smartphone app, on-board display, or a microSD card reading device. We were also keen on dash cams that can record audio and take still images.
The price of a car camera isn’t a definite gauge of its quality. However, we have noticed that the cheapest models, more so those under 100 dollars, cannot compete with pricier ones in terms of quality. We are reluctant to recommend some lowest-priced dash cams as we believe they might disappoint you when you really need top quality video footage. Although we also factor in a camera owner scores, we have discovered they are not a parameter you can depend on, entirely. For instance, a great proportion of the best dash cam for car has high grades on Amazon while getting low ratings on eBay. This does not reflect on the dash cam quality but the reliability of the grade.
Aside from those standard considerations, we selected models with the following features:
Top 15 Best Cheap Dash Cam for Car Reviews in 2020
For the best dash cam for car reviews in 2020, we opted for units that give the greatest number of features and finest build quality for your money. This way you are sure of getting a reliable option, whichever model you settle upon, ultimately. Besides, with seasonal deals in the offing, you may secure some more affordable car cam sales and offers below since this is the best season of the year to seize a great discount.
1. APEMAN C450 Series Dash Cam
The C450 dash cam series by APEMAN is a single recording camera that you can trust to keep your driving in check.
Warranty: 18 months factory warranty
2. APEMAN C420 Series Cube Dash Cam
The APEMAN C420 series is a mini car camera that packs high-end video processing and a host of other features, allowing you to drive without fear.
Warranty: 18 months’ factory warranty
3. VAVA VA-VD009 Series Dual Dash Cam
Enhance your road surveillance with VAVA latest VD009 model for all-round monitoring.
Warranty: 18 months factory warranty with lifetime support
4. APEMAN C420D Series Dash Cam
The C420D is another of APEMAN dash cam series that lets you record what’s happening inside and outside your vehicle with outstanding video clarity.
Warranty: 18 months factory warranty
5. VAVA VA-VD002 Series Dual Dash Cam
VAVA VA-VD002 is a dual-recording car camera that captures videos in High-Definition.
Warranty: 18 months factory warranty with lifetime support
6. Rove R2 Dashboard Camera
Rove R2 combines top-notch hardware and plenty of features to pick from!
Warranty: 12 months factory warranty
7. Pathinglek Single Front Dash Cam
The vehicle video recorder captures all the front view happenings on the highway.
8. D30H Pruveoo Dash Cam
The D30H dashboard camera by Pruveoo allows you to record the front and inside of your car simultaneously.
9. A119 V3 VIOFO Dash Cam
Little known VIOFO has a specialty in designing and developing dash and action DVR models with the A119 V3 as one of the latest in its dash cam series.
Warranty: One-year manufacturer warranty with lifetime customer support
10. TOGUARD Mini Car Dash Cam
TOGUARD is another of the small brands, producing world class car dashboard cameras such as this mini dash cam.
Warranty: Unclear warranty information
11. CR900 Crosstour Dual Dash Cam
Crosstour is a worldwide renowned automotive DVR manufacturer and the CR900 series does not disappoint in that regard.
Warranty: One-year manufacturer’s warranty
12. Garmin Dash Cam 66W
The 66W dash cam by Garmin comes in a compact and discreet design with a host of powerful features.
Warranty: Unclear warranty information
13. A1 Anker Roav Dash Cam
The Roav A1 series delivers an advanced dash cam designed and produced with a premium lens and state of-the art sensor, allowing you to capture the unexpected.
Warranty: One-year product replacement warranty
14. CammPro I826 128G Portable Body Camera
CammPro 128G portable DVR system is the perfect way to shield yourself and the community from evidence demanding incidences.
Warranty: One-year manufacturer warranty
15. Vantrue N2 Pro Series Dual Dash Cam
The N2 Pro series by Vantrue is among the best dash cam for car video interior recording powerful powerful functions and useful features.
Warranty: 18 months’ manufacturer warranty
How to Choose the Right Dash Cam for Car?
The dashboard camera market is changing rapidly, with manufacturers joining the 4K resolution industry. That’s why we recommend using the following tips to find the best dash cam for car video recording:
- Dual-Channel Recording: You will need this type of camera to operate both front and cabin view (internal) or rear cameras. Most interior cameras are integrated on the dash cam while rear-view ones are isolated and need extra cabling.
- Emergency Recording: We recommend dash cams that integrate G-sensors to allow automatic incident recording upon detecting impact.
- External Power Source: Most dashboard camera companies use the auxiliary 12V power socket or cigarette lighter and USB to power their gadgets when the engine is running. However, using the OBD-II connection can provide uninterrupted 12V power even when the engine is off and offer a great alternative to outmoded hardwiring kits.
- GPS: The feature uses longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates to show where the video was captured. It is an extra layer of security to validate your evidence, apart from the typical watermarking.
- Internal Power Source: The best dash cam for car video recording should have an internal battery super-capacitor to capture incident footage when the vehicle’s supply line is disrupted.
- Loop Recording: The feature deletes old footage to create room for new videos to ensure seamless recording. Besides, loop recording protects incident videos from overwriting.
- MicroSD Storage: The best dash cam for car video recording should bundle an SD card. Also, confirm the dashcam maximum allowed storage to avoid limiting your storage capacity.
- Night Recording: Having brilliant quality night footage is a huge variant. We recommend a device with infrared lighting night vision to guarantee unblemished captures of nocturnal activities.
- Parking Surveillance: It can imply two things. Letting the dash cam run in low frame rate, continuously, to save on storage and power, or using it in standby mode and auto-activates recording upon detecting g-forces or motion.
- Smartphone Compatibility: Although it is not an essential feature, still, it can make configuring the dashboard cams and offloading footage easier.
- Sufficient Field of View: Picking a car camera with a broad field of view allows you to capture all activity from any angle. Consider choosing a DVR lens between 120 and 180 degrees for the best results.
- Wi-Fi Support and Video Management Apps: Some dash cams have integrated a Wi-Fi adapter and a dedicated app, making it easy to manage videos. You can configure the device using the app interface to upload recordings to cloud storage automatically.
Dash Cam Installation Guide
For the best view of the freeway ahead, we suggest mounting the dashboard camera in the windshield center, towards the rearview mirror. This way you can see the dashcam screen and reach its controls with ease, without blocking your view ahead. Note that some states have laws to regulate what you can mount on the windshield and where. Remember to check your local driving regulations.
The majority of car cams provide a lengthy cord that connects to the vehicle 12V DC outlet or the cigarette socket. It would be best to run the DVR dandling cable to the passenger side to get it out your way. After that, tuck it into the molding separating your ride headliner and the windshield top for a neat finish.
Continue running the cable downwards the front pillar and windshield edge, passing it through the space on the dash side and below the dashboard to the power outlet. It is not difficult to set up, although you must be patient to secure the cord. Some brands provide small cable-holder clips that stick to the glass, holding the cable, plus a small tool to fit the cord between the molding and trim.
There are a few options if you don’t want to give up the only 12V connector in your car to power a dashboard camera. If the power cable can detach from its adapter, consider plugging it into a multi-port USB vehicle charger, leaving a port open for other gadgets. You could get a 12V splitter, instead. Many dashcam manufacturers also have hardwired kits, connecting to the vehicle fuse box, directly. Actually, we recommend this option if you need consistent power in your dash cam parking mode. However, you may require expert help for that.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best affordable dash cam depends on the features you want your camera to have. But according to our best dash cam for car reviews, the Toguard cube dash cam is the cheapest option that delivers decent specs for a very reasonable price.
Yes. We suggest that you get a dashboard camera for your vehicle to have tamper proof evidence should a road accident occur. Besides, some models have extra features like driver assist that enhance your awareness while on the highway
An easy-to-use dashboard cam should have simple, accessible controls, with a large clear display that doesn’t block your forward view. In addition, a model with auto-functions, such as ignition-based on/off, motion sensing, loop recording, incident footage protection, and others, self-regulates most of its complicated functions.
Yes. Installing a rear dash cam will give you an added layer of security for any incidents occurring from your vehicle rear.
Yes. Most top tier dash cameras can record the car speed some minutes before and during an incident. It helps vehicle owners to hold their drivers accountable for their driving habits and deter reckless driving.
Bang! An auto incident can occur instantly. And as scary as it may sound, it can be just as vexing to be blamed for a car accident that you didn’t cause. That is why getting the best dash cam for car video recording can be an important aid should the unexpected happen. After reading this review, it is our conviction that you can make an informed choice to fit your situation. Besides, you already know that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a reliable dashboard camera. There are plenty of budget models like the A119 V3 VIOFO Dash Cam that packs a host of formidable features and functions. But if you have a solid budget, consider a dual-channel dashboard camera with advanced GPS, driver assist, Wi-Fi, cam app, and smartphone compatibility features. The Vantrue N2 Pro series has most of these functions and is best for extreme temperatures and interior car recording. In the same category is the Garmin Dash Cam 66W with a few variants and ranks for the best discrete dash cam.