The Best Dash Cams You Can Buy in 2023
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Accidents happen, and an already painful experience can be made worse by getting blamed for something that wasn't your fault. A dashboard camera can help. A dash cam can record incidents in traffic (and sometimes even while parked) and exonerate you from responsibility to insurance companies, other drivers, and even the authorities.
The latest dash cams come in a range of shapes and sizes, offering differing levels of capabilities. They can track your location using internal GPS and provide driver-assistance features like lane-departure warnings. Some offer a parking mode, which allows the camera to start recording if your car or truck is moved or jostled while parked. Many come with rearview and in-cabin cameras, making them very handy—if not essential—for ride-share drivers.
Having the ability to record what goes on in your cabin also allows you to have a record of your interactions in the event of traffic stops, and to keep track of what's happening in your car when it's in for service. Additionally, there are a few different mounting options. Some affix to the dashboard, while others mount to the windshield, and the way that they stay secure varies as well.
There are a variety of cameras on the market, ranging from under $100 to over $1000. To that end, we here at the Gear Team thought it would be a good idea to assemble a list of some of the best dash cams on the market. We've included a number of options to suit different budgets and needs to be sure we've got you covered.
Things To Consider
Resolution: High-definition (HD) resolution results in clearer, sharper images with greater detail, but it also means the files are larger and you need more storage. Look for terms such as 1080p and 4K when shopping for a dash cam.
Power Supply: Most dash cams plug into your 12V outlet via a USB cord. Others are battery-powered and rechargeable. However, dash-cam batteries can be short lived; some last as little as 30 minutes. There are some high-end options that connect directly to your car's battery; these should be installed professionally, but you'll benefit from hidden wiring for a cleaner cabin.
Memory: Many dash cams require an SD card (or Micro SD) to store recordings. Oddly, however, most dash cams don't include them in their packaging. Before buying, check if the dash cam you're considering requires and includes an SD card or if you'll need to purchase one separately.
Interior Cameras: This may not be a feature most drivers are interested in, but for some—particularly those who make their living toting passengers around—having a cabin camera that captures what's going on inside your car can be a lifesaver. For ride-share drivers, a cabin cam may even be required by law.
Rearview Cameras: Many dash cams come with internal or rearview cameras, which can record events behind you in the event of a rear-end accident (or just help you back up safely). Again, this feature may not appeal to everyone, but for professional drivers, it could be essential.
Field of View: Some dash cams utilize wide-angle lenses to capture more of the road and surrounding areas. A wider angle of view makes it easier to capture what's going on at intersections and in your peripheral vision, but objects directly ahead will appear smaller. Knowing what sort of lens your camera has is important.
Connectivity: Wi-Fi-enabled dash cams usually interface with a smartphone app to adjust camera settings and to capture, store, and replay video. It's not essential, but without Wi-Fi connectivity, you'll likely need an internal SD card to store recorded videos.
Safety: Some dash cams can inform you if you cross lane lines or let you know if a car in front of you has stopped in traffic. They can also detect collisions and notify emergency services in the event that you are involved in an accident. This is helpful in the event that you are unable to reach assistance. Additionally, if they have GPS, they can inform the emergency personnel of your precise location.
The Cam Mini 2 is a solid offering from one of the most trusted names in the game. It's about the size of your car's key fob but still manages to pack in an abundance of features. It records in 1080p, can take hands-free voice commands, and can be powered with either a USB-B or USB-A.
Prior to its release a few months ago, there were nearly two years of anticipation for Amazon's Ring Car Cam. Now that it's out, there's approximately a six-month wait to get one. But if you use a Ring doorbell or Ring smart-home services, a connected dash cam that works using Alexa could be extremely handy.
The Car Cam features a cool design that helps it stand out from the competition, as well as all the features you'd expect from a premium dash cam. Its dual wide-angle HD cameras include night vision. It also provides real-time alerts when motion is detected. It also has an awesome feature that allows you not only to watch what's happening inside your vehicle when you aren't in it, but also allows for two-way talk via the Ring app. You can also opt for a subscription service that allows you to access its live-viewing features without a Wi-Fi connection.
The F7N-Plus is an Amazon Choice for a reason. It packs in all of the features you expect from a premium dash cam, such as wide-angle front and rear cameras, 4K 1080p quality, GPS, and loop recording. Despite all these features, it can often be found on sale for less than $150.
The R2 from Rove is a solid middle-of-the-range option—and one of the most popular dash cams on Amazon with more than 30,000 reviews (!) and a sterling 4.4-star rating (although smart consumers know to take that for what it's worth). Its ultra HD, 150-degree wide-angle-lens camera can capture images up to 2160p resolution, and the built-in Wi-Fi and GPS can track your route on the Rove app or Google Maps. It also features parking mode, motion detection, g-sensor, loop cycle recording, emergency lock, time-lapse, and slow-motion capabilities.
The front and back cameras on the exclusive Road Patrol dash cam make it the perfect choice for ride-share drivers. Even the interior camera can catch 110 degrees of vision, thanks to the excellent 1080p Sony image sensor. Using the three-inch OLED touchscreen is a breeze.
It is one of our favorite dash cams not because it comes from our colleagues at Car and Driver but because of the Drivesmart driver-assistance warning system that notifies you if your car drifts out of its lane or approaches another vehicle too closely. It also has a parking mode, accident detection, and an integrated GPS.
The Nextbase 622GW stands out from the herd with a few features that most others simply don't offer. Image stabilization, 5GHz Wi-Fi, super-slow-motion playback, defogging, and What3Words GPS to pinpoint your location within meters. Its quality is top-notch, and we know because we've used it.
RV Cam 795
The RV Cam 795 from one of the leading manufacturers of this sort of tech may be overkill for some. It is designed and built for RVs but could also be used for other similarly sized vehicles, or even just in your car or truck. The GPS allows you to enter the size of your vehicle and will provide custom routes accounting for things like steep grades, sharp curves, and more. Of course, it also features a wide-angle camera that records in 1080p and can automatically store videos of incidents.
The V1 is a tough camera. It features a built-in supercapacitor designed to handle temperatures from -20 to 166 degrees Fahrenheit, making it ideal for venturing off into extreme situations. It also includes a list of premium features such as GPS, a parking monitor, loop recording, Wi-Fi connectivity, and 2160p resolution.
We like the Vast Pro primarily for its design. It mimics the look of a rearview mirror for a more seamless appearance when installed. It can be mounted to either the windshield or dashboard, powered by either an OBD port or 12v outlet, and comes with all the features you expect from a camera in its price range, such as night vision, a 24-hour parking mode, G-sensors, and a rear camera.
The N4 contains all the top-of-the-line capabilities of pricier dash cams, including GPS, parking mode, time-lapse, etc., and provides simultaneous 360-degree car coverage from the inside and the outside. It's also one of the more popular dash cams on the market. But it's not flawless.
Because Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are not supported, the only method of playback and review is via a wired connection to a computer. Additionally, ordinary SD cards aren't compatible—an obnoxious sales tactic. You must use Vantrue's exclusive 256GB SD card, which is not included. N4 buyers are required to buy one separately or pay more for a Vantrue dash cam "bundle."
It's all in the name of this one. The A119 V3 records 60/30 frames per second in ultra-crisp 1440P 60fps QHD+ thanks to its Sony STARVIS 5MP image sensor and F1.6 7G lens. It also has multiple parking modes and GPS tracking, but if you're a nerd for image quality, this is the dash cam for you.
The One from Nexar is excellent for those who care to keep tabs on their vehicle when they aren't physically able to keep an eye out. It features 4k resolution and night vision, but most importantly, it features remote streaming, live alerts, and one-click insurance reporting. Nexar also offers 24/7 support should an issue arise.
If you're easily distracted, the Thinkware U1000 doesn't have a screen to divert you while you're driving. Through a wide, 150-degree lens, the Thinkware U1000 captures crisp 4K video. Wi-Fi and GPS are integrated, and they're used to deliver speed warnings and add position and speed information to all of your recordings. Additionally, a rear camera connects to the main unit and records in 2K resolution at 30 frames per second for clear footage of what is going on behind you.
Dash Cam FAQs
Do I Need a Dash Cam?
Depending on what, how, and why you drive, a dash cam can be useful. Truck, delivery, and ride-share drivers are all professionals who spend a lot of time behind the wheel, and they use dash cams regularly. Dash-cam data can safeguard drivers by exonerating them from liability in the event of an accident or traffic infraction.
According to the Journal of Safety Research, accident-related costs decreased by as much as 86% when a dash cam with driver feedback was used.
Are There Different Types of Dash Cams?
Dash cameras are available in a variety of styles, sizes, and shapes. There are generally two types: Single-lens dash cams are among the most basic. They record from one camera lens and are usually mounted in the front windshield to record what's happening in front of your vehicle.
Dual-lens dash cams come with two cameras: one looking forward to record events in front of the car and the other commonly pointed at the rear of the car to record the exterior. Sometimes the second camera can be turned to record the vehicle's interior cabin.
What Is a Premium Dash Cam?
Premium dash cams go above and beyond the standard dash cam and typically include features such as parking mode, smartphone integration, HD video resolution, G-sensors, cloud connectivity, and more.
How Much Video Can a Dash Cam Store?
Most dash cams record onto an SD card, so the amount of video you can store depends on the memory capacity of the card you use. Many newer and premium dash cams utilize cloud management, making it simple to edit and distribute video as needed. These dash cams and their accompanying smartphone apps typically let you save event footage to prevent overwriting critical video files.
How Do I Mount a Dash Cam?
Dash cams mount either with double-sided adhesive tape or a suction cup. Both have their pros and cons. While suction-cup mounts give you the flexibility to reposition your camera or even use it in another car, they're not as secure. Adhesive mounts provide a more stable base but make it much more difficult to reposition your camera and move it between cars.
Are Dash Cams Legal?
Although they are legal in the U.S., you should examine the regulations and limitations on their use and mounting requirements in your state and locality. Because it can impair your view, mounting a dash cam directly to the windshield is prohibited in several states. Ride-share drivers could be compelled by law to alert passengers if they're being recorded.
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