Who likes craning their neck backward every time they’re trying to park? For many, this is an uncomfortable position. Thankfully, it can be avoided using a backup camera. Once you install this device on your car, parking will be easier in tight spots and less cramp-inducing.
Backup cameras are a great addition to any car. Even if yours didn’t come out of the factory with one, you can still install one on your vehicle. Yes, even if you don’t have a rearview receiver in your head unit!
In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about backup camera systems, from common questions we get to a list of the best backup cameras on the market now. We have even put together a buying guide just for you. Once you’re done reading this article, you’ll have the answer to “What is the best backup camera to buy?”
We’re starting this list off strong with our top pick: the LeeKooLuu rearview camera. It’s easy to install, you can get it for a very reasonable price, and the image quality is unbeatable.
There are two ways the camera can be activated. The first is by putting your car in reverse. The second is by pressing a switch located on the cigarette lighter, for continuous use.
It comes with a dash-mounted display screen. Even if your vehicle has an old-school analog stereo system, you can still see everything that’s going on behind you.
All you have to do to get started using the camera is connect it to the dash screen. Luckily, the product comes with an installation guide. There is also a 24-foot-long video wire included in the package. It comes with all the adapters you’d need for an easy installation.
Another great feature is the fact that the camera is completely waterproof. Thus, you don’t need to worry about it getting ruined during snowy or rainy days.
Overall, the image quality and viewing angle are perfect. You’ll see everything on a 150-degree angle in color and in high-quality. You won’t lose visibility even in low-light settings, as the camera comes with 7 LED lights.
Lastly, if you’re not satisfied with the product, you can send it back and be reimbursed. There’s a 2-year warranty covering factory defects and damaged parts. You can also contact LeeKooLuu’s tech support with any questions.
High-resolution image with LED lights and traffic lines
This camera is marked as “Amazon’s Choice” and has more than 1,500 positive reviews. And costing only $22 at the time of writing, it’s the best product for a smaller budget.
There are many awesome features that deserve being highlighted. Most people using this camera are amazed at how good the image quality is. Especially when you consider how cheap it is.
Furthermore, the LED lights installed around the camera make parking in low-visibility conditions easy. On top of that, you can also see parking lines to help you fit your vehicle in the tightest of spots. If this feature bothers you, you can always disable it.
While the eRapta doesn’t come with a separate screen display, it is compatible with most touchscreen head units. As long as your car’s unit has the same RCA connector as this camera, it should work fine. If not, there are inexpensive head units out there that work perfectly with it.
Lastly, the image is automatically triggered once you put your vehicle into reverse. Once you finish parking, the camera turns off on its own.
Affordable with a 2-year factory warranty period
Video wire installation is easy to follow with instructions
High-quality image with LED lights for dark settings
The ZEROXCLUB price tag may be steep, but looking at the hundreds of positive customer reviews, it is well justified.
There are two models of this camera. The first is the W01 model, which costs $170 at the time of writing. The second is known as the SW01 model and costs $240 currently. The difference between the two is that the latter has HD 1080-pixel image.
Regardless of what model you choose, you’re getting a great deal. For starters, this product comes with both the backup camera and a dash-mounted screen. You won’t need to run a several-feet-long wire, as the ZEROXCLUB camera is wireless. The installation will take you no time at all!
Its 18 built-in LED lights make parking in darkness a piece of cake. You’ll have just as much visibility as during the daytime, give or take. Moreover, its 149-degree viewing angle is optimal for easy and effective parking, especially in tight spaces.
Luckily, this product works wonders in a variety of vehicles. It’s been tested in cars, trucks, RVs, SUVs, convertibles, and even buses! We love how multi-purpose this camera is.
High-quality image feed even in low-light settings
Waterproof camera makes it a long-lasting product
Installation video is easy to follow
Installing the camera in place will need a couple of drilled holes
The BOSCAM rearview camera is yet another versatile product. It can be used on cars, pickups, trucks, vans, and buses. Its image quality and adjustable camera angle make it well worth the $130 it costs.
You’ll find that you’re getting quite a bang for your buck with this product. Not only does it include a high-resolution rearview camera, but it also comes with a dash-mount screen to play the image. It’s perfect for older vehicles without a state-of-the-art touchscreen head unit.
The camera can be installed on the lip of your trunk or truck bed. Since it is wireless, it can easily be connected to the dashboard monitor. No long wires to worry about.
The image quality leaves nothing to be desired. It isn’t grainy or blurry and its programmed contrast and color accuracy settings make it clear as water. The camera also has a built-in sensor chip that improves the image’s quality in dark settings. Parking at night is just as easy as in daylight.
Perhaps what distinguishes it from the competition is the fact that this isn’t a fixed rearview camera. You can adjust the verticle viewing angle to ensure you’re getting the best feedback possible. That’s what makes it suitable for a wide range of vehicles.
Adjustable viewing angles give you accurate backup view
Did you know you can turn your rearview mirror into a backup camera feedback player? Yup, it can act as a dashboard screen or touchscreen head unit would. The TOGUARD camera takes a futuristic step to being user-friendly and super useful.
This product has two main components: the mirror dash cam and the rearview camera. They are both wireless and can easily be connected by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
When you touch the rearview mirror, you’ll see the feedback from the backup cam. Putting your car into reverse will also automatically trigger the image. At every other time, though, you’ll be looking at a mirror like every other. You probably wouldn’t even know that this is a mirror dash cam!
The camera is completely waterproof, which is great news, as it will live a longer life without needing any repairs. Its only downside is the 130-degree angle, which isn’t bad, but it’s also not the best.
High-quality, clear image on the mirror cam
Waterproof camera that captures light in low-light settings
Easy to install without needing to remove the original mirror
Another great camera is this one made by LASTBUS. It is completely waterproof, comes with a monitor kit, and is easy to install in a variety of vehicles.
Our favorite thing about this piece of equipment is the fact that it’s wireless. Place the camera on the back of your vehicle, connect it to the taillight power wires, and connect the monitor to the cigarette lighter. No need to run long wires throughout your car. Easy peasy.
There is a built-in latest-generation signal chip that keeps the connection between the camera and the monitor strong. Even at higher speeds and bad weather conditions, you won’t lose signal.
The image quality is also a strong advantage this camera has over others. It has 28 infrared lights to help you park in the dark. Moreover, in daylight, the image is crystal clear.
Clear image both in daylight and in low-light settings
Strong wireless connection between the camera and screen
If you’re looking for a high-performing digital wireless rearview backup cam, you can’t go wrong with this AUTO-VOX product. The image quality and versatility make it well worth the investment.
You can use this camera as both a front-view and a rearview camera. Since you can turn on and turn off the “mirrored image” setting, it can help you avoid any kind of blind spots your vehicle may have.
Another handy setting is the parking line one. It lets you change how you see these lines on your LCD monitor. You can choose between six different presets or, if you don’t need them for parking assistance, you can just disable it.
But the best feature is perhaps the strong signal transmission. Some analog wireless cameras show distorted images because of how they’re wired. Not the AUTO-VOX, though. Because it is digital and equipped with strong signal receivers, you can trust that what you see on the screen is exactly what’s behind you. No color distortion and no grains on your screen.
The only thing this camera doesn’t nail is the viewing angle. The rear camera captures everything in a 110-degree angle. That’s not a huge deal-breaker, but other cameras have a much better angle.
Strong and stable digital wireless connection between camera and monitor
Adjustable parking guidelines to help you with all kinds of parking
Viewing angle could be wider to assist with parking
8. NATIKA Backup and Front View Waterproof Camera
Yet another versatile waterproof camera, the NATIKA is affordable and a great pick if you’re still on the fence about getting one of these cams. Do keep in mind it doesn’t come with a dash cam screen, though.
This camera can be mounted on a variety of car parts. It will work well in the lip of your trunk or truck bed. Installing it above your license plate or on the trunk handle is also a good choice. This is possible because the product comes with three different gaskets that give you different viewing angles.
You can also use this item as a front-view camera. All you have to do is turn off the “mirror image” setting and install it in the front of your vehicle. This way, you’ll be covered from frontal blind spots.
The image quality is also something to highlight. There are no grains or miscommunications between the camera and your head unit. Thus, you can trust that the feedback image you see is what’s really behind you.
Luckily for you, it also works great in the dark, as it supports illumination as low as 0.01 Lux. The large aperture of the camera also helps with this.
Easy installation following the instructions in the package
Great daylight and low-light image with no grains
Can be installed in a variety of places and vehicles
You need to have a working head unit to use this product
Backing up and parking with the Esky camera is easy-peasy. The installation is straightforward, the camera has great image quality even in low-light conditions, and it is super discreet.
If you don’t want a flashy camera on your vehicle, this is a good choice for you. The camera is built into a heavy-duty chrome license plate frame. Thus, your plate will still be visible and you will barely notice there’s a rearview backup cam there.
The camera has a 170-degree macro lens viewing angle. It allows you to get a good viewing of what’s behind you without getting a warped image. Its seven LED lights help you back up and park in the dark. Plus, the high-sensitive color CMOS provides a crystal clear image.
Great visibility both in the dark and in daylight
Sleek, discreet design and straightforward installation
All-weather, waterproof camera protection make it live for longer
Doesn’t include a monitor kit, so you need to have a good head unit.
We’ve saved a great product for last. It is super affordable, user-friendly, and the perfect starter rearview camera.
This is a license-plate-mounted backup cam. It goes right above your rear license plate and can be installed on a variety of vehicles. It can even be placed on cars made for foreign markets.
The LCD monitor is a big plus. It measures 4.3 inches corner to corner, just big enough for you to see the camera image easily but not too big to the point where it’s clunky.
When you put your vehicle in reverse, the monitor will automatically display the image captured by the rearview camera. Once you’re done, the monitor will shut off and stop using up its battery.
While the image quality isn’t HD, it’s still good enough to help you park even in tricky spots. If you’re willing to compromise a little on image quality, this is an amazing, affordable option.
Comes with a handy LCD monitor that is easy to use and put away
Relatively easy to install above license plates on several vehicles
Very affordable and user-friendly product
The waterproof coating is on the weaker side, so you’ll need to supplement it
How Do Backup Cameras Work?
The short answer is that when you put your car into reverse, the image captured by the rearview camera is transmitted to your head unit or monitor.
An interesting feature of these cameras is the fact that they automatically mirror the image they capture. If they showed you a direct feed instead, you would steer right when you really meant to steer left. Needless to say that would land you in trouble with whoever’s car you drove into.
It’s also important to know that the camera and the monitor or head unit are paired either through cables or through a wireless connection. That’s why you’re shown a live feed with no delay of the rearview camera.
Can a Backup Camera Be Added to a Car Aftermarket?
Absolutely! All the items we have featured on our list are aftermarket cameras. They’re meant to be installed on vehicles who have never had a rearview camera before.
It’s pretty easy to find a camera that will work on your vehicle. If the one you have your heart set on comes with a monitor kit, it’ll most likely work perfectly with whatever car you want. If it doesn’t, make sure the camera’s wires are compatible with your head unit.
How to Connect the Backup Camera to Head Unit?
Each camera comes with its own installation guide. Many even have YouTube video demonstrations done by the manufacturer! In a nutshell, there are three steps to connecting the backup cam to the head unit:
Mounting the camera in place and wiring it to a power source.
Running a video wire connection from the camera to the dash. The exception is if it’s a wireless system.
Connecting the video wire to the input cable of the screen you want to use.
Some parts of the installation (especially step three) can be quite tricky. If you want to play it safe, you can always drive your vehicle to an auto shop. If you want to keep things within budget, we suggest watching this DIY installation video.
Are Backup Cameras Covered Under Warranty?
Around half of the cameras we have reviewed today are covered by factory warranty. This is a good thing to look out for if you’re wary of buying a camera in the first place. It will give you more security and ensure you get your money back in case there’s something wrong with the system.
That’s a lot of accidents! And in most cases, they can be prevented. Backing up and hitting a car isn’t likely to harm you bad physically. Still, it will do some pretty hefty damage to your car and someone else’s. When you get backup cameras, you can easily avoid these kinds of accidents.
Don’t believe us? Let’s run down a list of the main benefits of adding this camera to the back of your vehicle.
Lower chance of you getting into parking accidents
More accurate parking 100% of the times
No more craning your neck backward to see the parking space
Ability to park in tighter spaces safely, especially in cities
Reverse safely even with a trailer attached to your vehicle’s ball
But Keep in Mind…
That said, it’s obvious a rearview camera can’t replace caution or an experienced driver. Just because you have one installed doesn’t mean you should ignore what your instincts tell you and stop looking in the mirrors. Think of this device as an added security element, not as an accident-preventer. It’s not just us warning you. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns drivers of the same thing!
Where to Connect Backup Camera?
Once you have a rearview camera, you’ll need it to be connected to a screen of some sort. Otherwise, how would you be able to see what it’s recording? There are different kinds of screens you can connect your camera to.
Factory Touchscreen Receiver
Did your vehicle come with a screen display head unit? If so, great! Now, you’ll need to find a vehicle-specific camera to mount on the back of your car. Since they’re designed by your vehicle’s maker, they blend in perfectly and you won’t have to worry about connectivity issues.
Alternatively, you could go the cheaper route and just get one of the cameras we reviewed earlier on. Just make sure to read reviews and, if necessary, contact customer support to know if the camera will work with your fabric head unit.
Aftermarket Touchscreen Head Unit
Most cars don’t have a touchscreen head unit. If you’re looking to upgrade your vehicle’s entertainment system and get real-time feedback from your rearview camera, getting an aftermarket head unit is a great idea.
With the Android Auto and CarPlay technology, you can take your whole driving experience to the next level. From playing specific playlists to accessing GPS systems in real-time, you can’t go wrong with one of these add-ons. Plus, you can find decent head units for relatively cheap!
The majority of rearview cameras can be hooked up to aftermarket screen receivers easily. All it takes is some time, patience, and handyman skills.
Rearview Mirror Screen
If you can’t fit a brand-new head unit in your car, there are still options. Getting a rearview mirror screen is one of them. They work just like a normal mirror, but when you touch them, they display video from your backup cam.
Dash-Mounted Screen Display
This is probably the most popular alternative to getting an expensive auto head unit to connect your camera to. These devices have screens between 4.5 and 7 inches. They’re not big and get the job done for a low price. Installing them is also a piece of cake. They look like a car phone mount, with their suction cups and adhesive tape.
Ultimate Backup Camera Buying Guide
Now comes the fun part: shopping around for backup cameras. With so many options out there, it can be easy to get lost in the big world of online retail.
A great way to stay on track and avoid spending hours aimlessly looking for a rearview camera is to keep the following points in mind. The best backup cameras all have these features, so keep an eye out for them in each product’s description.
Most cameras capture what’s behind your car at between a 110-degree and a 190-degree angle. The larger the angle, the more you see behind you. However, too large of an angle will warp the image so much you won’t be able to accurately estimate how much room you have for parking maneuvers.
The optimal angle is around 150 degrees. It’s not too large to throw you off nor too small that it will barely help you more than craning your neck back.
Some cameras allow for these guidelines to show up on your screen. They’re meant to make parking easier, especially if your vehicle doesn’t have rear proximity sensors.
Usually, you’ll see green, yellow, and red lines. They give you an idea of how close you are to an obstacle behind you, be it a car, a pillar, or a trash can. They’re especially useful when parallel parking!
Low Light Quality
You’ll want a camera that works both in bright and dim settings. If you’re parking in a garage, for example, you will need a camera that can still capture good-quality image despite it being dark. The same can be said for parking at night.
The best backup cameras out there have LEDs strategically placed to brighten up the image. Even in low-light conditions, you’ll get a clear picture on your screen.
Different cameras are installed differently. There are three main places in a vehicle where you can install a backup camera. Depending on what kind of car, truck, convertible, or trailer you have, you’ll need a different kind of mounting.
License Plate Mounting
This is pretty self-explanatory. The camera is placed above the license plate and doesn’t cover up any important information. It’s a straightforward installation that is pretty universal.
The trunk of your car may have an insert area, directly above the license plate. If it does, you can install your rearview camera here. Its main advantage is the fact that it’s subtle and discreet.
The most universal approach you can take is bracket mounting. Your camera will come with a special bracket that lets you install it pretty much anywhere you see fit.
Don’t forget to check if the camera you’re getting is waterproof. After all, driving through mud, rain puddles, and snowy or icy roads can damage it if it’s not waterproof.
We can’t stress this enough: not all cameras are compatible with all cars. Depending on what kind of installation they require or what head unit connection they need, you may end up with a piece of equipment that doesn’t work. This is where warranties come in handy.
Lastly, stick to your budget. You don’t need us telling this, but we want to make sure you know that there are awesome cameras out there for less than $50. More expensive doesn’t always equal better!