Whether you plan to use it to record joy rides on winding roads, to analyze your line on the race track, or to capture a potential accident, you will find the best dash cams are well worth the investment. That’s why we’ve rounded up the 10 best dash cameras on the market today — so you can spend less time shopping and more time putting your new dash cam to good use on your next drive.
Dash cameras are usually installed underneath your rear-view mirror or on your dashboard. They come with a wide range of features, and you have your choice between varying sizes, video quality, and camera angles. When installed correctly, the best dash cams will automatically and continuously record for two hours or more, depending on the memory card capacities. Just remember that along with your dash camera, you’ll also need to purchase a micro SD card.
Why Should I Get A Dash Cam?
Though car accidents are never something we want to dwell on, having a dash cam will help you feel prepared if you should ever be involved in an accident. Dash cam footage can serve as evidence for your insurance company, law enforcement officials, or lawyers.
And a dash cam isn’t just to record potential accidents. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, a dash cam can capture the license plate, make, and model of the vehicle that hit you. A dash cam can help capture footage in the event you get pulled over. With your dash cam in use, you should have some added security in the event of a car accident or other car-related emergency.
With that, we don’t need to only dwell on the potential benefit of dash cams in the case of car accidents — a dash cam can also provide a fun way of recording your favorite driving experiences. If you like to take long, scenic drives to blow off steam, a dash cam can record every twist and turn. And if you enjoy taking your car out to the track, you can use a dash cam to record your track time and look back on your driving to make improvements or relive your best laps of the day.
The 10 Best Dash Cams On The Market Today
Below, we’ve highlighted the 10 best dash cams. As you’ll find, there is a wide range of pricing and other features, and we detail everything you need to know about each product in our buying guide. Along with our product list, we’ve also answered several frequently asked questions related to dash cams and their use. After this article, you’ll be fully set to buy the best dash cam to fit you and your beloved car’s needs! Keep reading for all the intel on the best dash cams that money can buy.
Coming in at the top of our list of the best dash cams, the Rove R2-4K can record videos up to 2160p – double the resolution of a typical dash cam. And with the top-notch night vision technology, you’ll be recording crisp video 24 hours a day.
In the event of an accident, the built-in G-sensor will activate the camera when a sudden collision is detected. The dash cam will flag the video as important so the footage can not be overridden. The cam also features built-in WiFi and GPS capabilities. With the WiFi, you can use an app to automatically download the videos onto your smartphone. And the GPS allows you to record your location and speed alongside the video.
With so many top-of-the-line technical features, Rove offers free firmware upgrades so you can always keep your dash cam up to speed. Rove backs all their devices with a 1-year warranty. Be sure to purchase a separate Class 10, U3 speed micro SD card for 4k video in order to record and save all your videos.
In terms of mounting the dash cam, it comes with a suction mount and an adhesive mount depending on your preferences. It also comes with numerous cable hiding clips for a sleek and seamless install. The Rove R2-4K features an internal battery which means it can record continuously for up to 24 hours even when your car is not on.
Instead of purchasing a separate dash cam and radar detector, why not have both in one device? After all, a crowded windshield will not only look cluttered but can also obstruct your view of the road. Thankfully, with this two-in-one Cobra Road Scout, you can now cruise the roads with added insurance against speeding tickets and red light cameras all while capturing your fun (and safe) drive on the integrated dash cam.
The dash camera featured full-HD 1080p and is capable of both day and night recording. Along with that, it can record on a continuous loop. With WiFi and the iRadar app, you can immediately view, edit, and share the videos from your phone. The Cobra Road Scout does best mounted on the top-middle section of the windshield under your rearview mirror. Be sure to check with your local state regulations prior to installation.
The radar detector has a long-range and includes a GPS database that helps reduce false alerts. Additionally, thanks to this same database, the detector will notify you of red light and speed cameras. The front of the device features user-friendly control settings so you can set up the detector exactly how you want it. And the full-color LCD system will show you the current speed limit. The device integrates with the iRadar app for easy setup and real-time alerts from other users.
With this greatly budget-friendly dash cam from Pathinglek, you can have all the benefits of the best dash cams without breaking the bank. It features full-HD 1080p resolution with a 170-degree wide-angle lens to easily capture a multi-lane road or a scenic mountain landscape.
In the event of a collision, the camera’s G-sensor will automatically save the resulting video in a specific folder for safe keeping. Even if other files are overwritten, these flagged files from the detected collision will remain safe and intact. Once the memory card is full, the dash cam will automatically begin overwriting the oldest video files to continue recording. With this loop recording capability, just remember you’ll need to manually save any old files you want to keep.
The dash cam itself has a 3-inch display screen for easy use. Along with the dash cam, you also get two separate mounts — a suction cup or adhesive strip mount depending on your installation preferences.
With this Nextbase dash cam, you have price points ranging from under $50 to over $200. Depending on the features you want in your camera, you can pick the model that suits you best. For our purposes, we are delving into the 422GW model, as this is the most popular option. The 422GW has 1440p HD recording and shoots at 30 frames-per-second.
The 422GW has parking mode, night vision, a GPS module, and a front-facing camera. The unit has a 2.5-inch HD touchscreen and is modular and compatible with Nextbase’s rear-view camera models, so you can easily add a second camera to this device. Truly, the 422GW has everything you’d want in a dash camera. But what makes this dash cam stand out are all the unique features it has that are unlike any of the other best dash cams on the market.
One of the more unique features of the 422GW is that it is one of the only dash cameras that comes with Alexa built-in. You can use voice commands with Alexa to play music, place calls, find packing, get directions, and much more — all staying fully hands-free.
Along with this, the 422GW comes with both WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2, and the device will automatically connect to your phone and sync videos. In the event of an accident, the G-sensor will automatically record the collision, but this dash cam goes a step further. In the event of an emergency, the dash cam can also send an SOS alert to emergency services complete with GPS data and personal medical data for paramedics en route to your location.
The VAVA dual camera dash cam uses a top-quality Sony sensor to produce high-definition photos and videos right from your dashboard. The front camera records in 2K resolution, and the back camera has 1080p resolution.
With this quality, you can capture every character on a license plate should you be a victim of a hit-and-run accident. And if the G-sensor goes off because of a collision, the camera will automatically lock the video so it cannot be deleted even with loop recording. This dash cam even has a back-up battery so it can be used as a surveillance camera for a parked car.
VAVA has a well-regarded app that allows you to easily view, download, and share your dash cam footage. Along with that, the built-in GPS can show your driving route, location, and speed along your drive. For this dash cam, be certain to use a U3 micro SD card.
Coming from Apeman, this dash cam has image quality that is crisper than most best dash cams. With high-resolution video recording and a 3-inch display screen, it also has a wider than most competing products 170-degree camera lens. This captures your blind spots which are often the areas where accidents occur.
This dash cam also has impeccable night vision, providing sharp, clear images night or day. Similar to other dash cams, the built-in G-sensor will detect when a collision occurs. Then, the video captured will be automatically locked to prevent overwriting.
Installation is very user-friendly. The dash cam comes with a suction-cup mount that can easily be removed if needed. You can rotate the suction cup mount for optimal video capture. For this dash cam, you’ll need a Class 10 micro SD card with a capacity of 32GB to 64GB.
If you want a dash cam that stays out of the way and is entirely incognito, the Garmin Mini Dash Cam is the one for you. For reference, the camera is the size of a single car key.
Though small, it is still mighty. The camera records in 1080p and has a 140-degree wide-angle lens. If you live in a place where there are a lot of restrictions on windshield devices, having a small camera like this Garmin is a good option.
While there is no display screen on the dash cam itself, the camera has built-in WiFi connectivity that uploads footage to your phone through the Garmin Drive app. When connected to your phone, it will automatically sync the videos. You can sync up to four cameras to your phone if you opt to have multiple front, side, or rear-facing Garmin cameras on your car.
The Rexing Dash Cam records footage in 4K, for some of the highest quality video possible. While it delivers high-quality video, its compact design allows it to take up a small amount of space.
If you live in a climate with extreme temperatures, the device has enhanced temperature resistance and is designed to operate in temperatures from -20 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit. With the 170-degree angle lens, you’ll be able to catch everything on your drive.
This dash cam also has collision detection, loop recording, WiFi support, and a parking monitor. It is compatible with a micro SD memory card with up to 256GB of memory. With the built-in WiFi, you can easily view and download your videos with the Rexing Connect app on your smartphone.
The VanTrue dash cam comes with every standard feature you’d expect in the best dash cams along with a few unique ones. For starters, the device has a front-facing camera that captures the road ahead with 1080p and a wide-angle lens.
Along with that, it has an inward-facing camera that records the inside of your car at all times, making it an ideal dash cam for rideshare drivers. If you opt to only use the front-facing camera, it will record at 2k resolution. Because of the video quality, be sure to purchase a micro SD card with more than 32GB of storage.
The dash cam also features excellent night vision, parking mode, and supports a large memory capacity up to 256GB. With its infrared night vision, the lens can pick up clear images even in the pitch darkness. Vantrue routinely releases automatic firmware updates, so you can rest assured your dash cam will always stay up to date with the latest features and functionality.
Made by TOGUARD, this dash cam records both the road ahead and the inside of the car. If you take your car out to the track or any driving events, this dual camera view can record quality videos of your track time.
Both cameras have 1080p resolution with 30 frames per second. The front lens has a 170-degree angle and the cabin lens has a 140-degree angle. The camera can also record well in low light.
Because of the small, cylindrical size of this dash cam, the camera is somewhat incognito. This device has motion detection and a G-sensor that locks footage if a collision occurs. The camera has a 1.5-inch LCD screen and comes with a suction cup mount and multiple cable clamps for easy installation.
Key Features To Consider For The Best Dash Cams
When searching for the best dash cam to fit your needs, keep these key features in mind. Knowing what mounting system you want is crucial in finding the best dash cam. As their name would suggest, dash cams are often mounted on your car’s dashboard. However, there are several different types of mounting systems. Dash cams can also be attached with suction cups, magnetic mounts, or adhesive pads. Suction cups tend to be the most common and are the easiest to reposition or remove when needed. Adhesive pads are usually the most secure, but they are also hard to remove and reposition. Magnetic mounts tend to be the most user-friendly.
Size And Display
Next, consider the size of the camera itself and the size of the display screen. Larger display screens will makes it easier to see footage when on to go. Along with that, larger screens are generally easier to use. Smaller screens usually make the dash cam more compact. In terms of size, a mid-range size for both unit and display screen tends to be the most popular. When a dash cam is too small, it becomes more difficult to use. When a dash cam is too large, it is not discreet and, if improperly mounted, could obstruct your view.
Though not as common, some dash cams have no display screen at all and will require you to view the footage on your smartphone. With dash cams that don’t have display screens, it is harder to confirm that the dash cam is properly working as you don’t get a live preview of the video.
Controls And Connectivity
In terms of usability, the dash cam’s controls are very important. The best dash cams tend to have simple buttons that light up at night so that you can see them without distraction. Most dash cams have touchscreens and some will also have an app that you can download to your smartphone for increased features and functionality.
Having easy to use controls on the dash cam is a great feature. While not a must-have, some dash cams also have WiFi, Bluetooth, and smartphone connectivity. With these features, you can quickly download your footage onto your phone. From there, you can easily share the video wherever you want.
It might go without saying that the whole purpose of a dash cam is that it has a camera to record video. But with that, the image quality is a key feature to consider. Look for a dash cam with 1080p resolution or higher. Along with image quality, the actual width of the camera lens is another important feature. If a dash cam has a range of 140 to 160 degrees, you should be able to get a good view of the surrounding road and scenery. Whether you want the dash cam to monitor for accidents or capture a scenic drive, a wide-angle lens is best.
Finally, take note of whether the dash cam is only front-facing or features a dual camera. If your dash cam has a dual camera, this means it can record out both the front and back of your car. Some units are modular and will allow you to add a second camera along with your front-facing dash came. Whether you want one or more cameras largely depends on personal preference, and you may opt to have just a single front-facing camera.
With These Dash Cams, You’ll Be Ready To Take On Every Road
While we hope that you stay safe on the roads at all times, other drivers can be unpredictable and car accidents do happen. Knowing your drives are being recorded with a dash cam will help you feel better prepared for any driving situation that life throws at you. Before purchasing a dash camera, be sure to check with your local state laws to make sure you can legally mount a dash cam on your dashboard or rearview mirror.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I set up a dash camera?
For optimal visibility and easy use, you will want to install the dash cam in the center of the windshield near the rearview mirror. Placing it high up on the windshield will keep the dash cam from obstructing your view while giving the camera the best vantage point to record the road ahead.
When it comes to setting up a dash dam, the main thing you will need to figure out is the cord situation. Most of the best dash cams have a long cord that plugs into the cigarette lighter. With that, you’ll find that some dash cams come with cable-holding clips to help with the install. But, regardless, securing the cord takes some patience and a little bit of elbow grease.
Once the dash cam is secured, you can run the cord toward the passenger side, securing it between the top of the windshield and the car’s headliner. Then, just keep securing the cord either with clips or sturdy tape along the edge of the windshield.
Though most people opt to secure the wiring themselves in DIY fashion, you can also opt to hardwire the dash cam to your car’s fuse box. For this method, we recommend taking your car to a shop so a mechanic can perform this task.
Is it legal everywhere to have a dash cam on your dashboard?
There are some states in the US that do now allow dash cams. Dash cams are fully allowed with windshield mounting in Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Vermont.
Along with that, a handful of other states allow it with certain exceptions depending on the state including Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, Utah, Wisconsin, and Washington DC. If you live in these states, check your particular state regulations to know the proper installation for your dash cam.
For all other states, dash cams themselves are not illegal but windshield mounting them is illegal. With that, you can choose to install your dash cam in the corner of your dashboard, not on the windshield, or find another way to mount it legally per your state’s regulations.
What kind of memory card do I need for a dash cam?
To use a dash camera, you’ll generally need a micro SD card. To be certain what type of micro SD and what memory capacity to purchase, double-check your dash cam’s user manual or product description.
Can a dash cam be used against you?
In the event that you are in a car accident, the footage can be used to determine you were at fault. Because dash cam footage can legally be used as evidence if the other car is at fault, it can also be used as evidence if you are at fault.
Along with car accidents, dash cam footage can also be used as evidence for any kind of traffic violation. If your dash cam has GPS tracking, it will be able to determine your speed at any point of the recording.
How do I know if my dash cam is actively recording?
If installed correctly and kept plugged in, a dash cam will automatically record when the engine is turned on. When the engine is turned off, the dash cam will automatically stop recording.
If you are looking for a dash cam that will constantly record even when your car is off, look for dash cams with 24-hour parking mode. If you often have to street park in an area with frequent break-ins, this may be an excellent option for you. With parking mode, the dash cam will continuously record for up to 24 hours even when your car is off.
For a dash cam to have these capabilities, it will either need to be hardwired to your car or have an internal battery.
How long do dash cams record for?
On average, a dash cam will automatically record for up to two hours. Usually, a dash cam is suited for use with a 16GB SD card. With this, after two hours of footage is recorded, it will automatically begin overwriting footage unless you manually stop recording.
Most dash cams have G-sensors that, if motion or impact detection is triggered, will automatically save the footage. This is in the case of a car accident. Most dash cams will save and lock this footage so that it can not be overwritten.
Joybeth Sullivan is an accomplished content creator. She does it all as a writer, photographer, and videographer. Her work has been published in local and international outlets. She graduated from the University of Georgia in May of 2020 with a dual-degree in English & Film. Today, she is based out of Denver, CO. When she isn't writing, you can find her on long drives in the mountains with her husky, Newman, riding shotgun.