Best Dash Cam
Featuring reviews of the best dashboard cameras available in 2022, from budget to high end products. You’ll also find a FAQ answering any technical questions you may have while deciding which dash cam to get.
Dashboard cameras, also known as dash cams, car cameras, car DVRs or even accident recorders, are cameras mounted above your car’s dashboard that record the view through the windshield as you drive.
These have become highly popular already and come standard in most new cars. Find out everything you need to know before you buy a dash cam here!
Dashboard cameras are especially widely used in the US. Apparently insurance fraud and theft are a lot more common than most people think.
Should you ever get involved in an accident on the road, the video footage from your dash cam may well be all you need to win your case in court. And who knows, you might even be lucky enough to capture a once-in-a-lifetime event like a meteor falling from the sky, you’d be surprised at what some of these cameras capture!
- Best Dash Cam
- What Are The Benefits Of Having A Personal Dash Cam?
- What Price Range Do Dashboard Cameras Come In?
- What Features Should I Look For?
- Are Dashboard Cameras Legal?
- How To Install A Dashboard Camera?
- What Kind Of Storage Cards Do Dash Cams Use?
- Best Dash Cam Reviews for 2022
- What Else Would You Like To Know About Dash Cams?
What Are The Benefits Of Having A Personal Dash Cam?
The main reason why people buy personal dash cams (as opposed to e.g. dash cams used by the police) is, of course, security. Dashboard cameras prove extremely useful in a variety of scenarios, including accidents, harassment, attempted car theft, hit-and-run, insurance fraud, and other drivers handling your car (in case you have kids with a driver’s license, you will know what I mean!)
On the other hand, a personal dash cam will also give you a chance to record scenic drives, or you can turn the camera around and record those happy moments in the car with your family and friends. And of course there’s always the chance that something interesting might happen that you would like to keep a reminder of.
Even if it’s not as spectacular as a meteor falling from the sky, maybe you see some rare animals grazing near the road, a celebrity crossing the street just in front of you, or anything else that you would like to share with your loved ones.
What Price Range Do Dashboard Cameras Come In?
While you can get yourself a dash cam for as little as $20 nowadays, I don’t recommend you go that low if you’re looking for a reliable, decent quality device. The most affordable car camera that I feel comfortable recommending is worth around $50 (the DVR-027, see review below). It’s reliable and has good picture quality, but of course it doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of the more expensive products.
If you are looking for a high-end camera though, complete with GPS, HD 1080p video, Wi-Fi, and a stealthy design, you should be prepared to invest up to $400-500. Of course there are also intermediate options – The Rove is a great middle of the road cam for around $100. You can check out their video below.
What Features Should I Look For?
The lowest resolution that dashboard cameras come with is VGA (640×480 pixels), offering you just enough image quality to tell which car was where or to record the color of a traffic light when you crossed it. 720p cameras offer a significant improvement and deliver decent pictures for an affordable price. However if you prefer top quality for your videos, and especially if you plan on recording scenic routes or happy moments with your friends and loved ones, go for 1080p high definition cameras.
A dash cam shouldn’t be too visible from outside the vehicle. Therefore, smaller cameras are better. Preferred color is black. The best location to mount your dash cam is right behind the rear-view mirror, were it is hardly discernible for the untrained eye.
An absolute must for a dashboard camera. You don’t want to get into a situation in which you need the video footage, only to find out that you forgot to turn the camera on. Or worse, your camera didn’t shut off for days and drained your battery.
Motion detection / Parking mode
Extremely useful, especially in the event that someone damages your car in your absence.
Another must for car cameras. This feature overwrites older footage when the storage is full, so recording never stops due to limited disc space. You can mark the footage that you want to keep so it doesn’t get accidentally overwritten.
A nice treat, but not that important for a dash cam, as you will normally be having your headlights on when you drive at night, and most streets are illuminated anyways. But if you are looking for the best backup camera with night vision, that’s a different story since you can’t see behind you with a dash camera. You can check out our list of the best Bluetooth backup cameras here.
Date and time stamp
Very helpful if you ever need to present your video footage as evidence in court. It is one thing to say something, it’s another to have video proof of it. Don’t forget to set the date and time upon installing the camera!
Not needed for a dash cam, as you would have to operate it manually while driving, which is dangerous and probably illegal. Although there are some units that offer this in their apps.
Should be kept low-key for a car camera, especially if they’re on the lens side. A LED that is too bright can cause a reflection from the windshield that degrades video quality.
Power adapter length
Should be at least 11ft (3.5m) so you can install the power cord around the windshield instead of having it dangling down. The old Street Guardian cameras had nice long cables. But even they have shortened them.
While a screen helps to insta-view what you recorded, not all dash cams have one for size reasons. Cameras without a screen connect to your smartphone for viewing, via mini-USB cable or Wi-Fi.
Optional. Dash cams with GPS allow you to record your exact position and calculate your speed, which can then be blended into the video feed along with the date and time stamp. The drawback is that the additional hardware obviously makes the camera bigger, which is the main reason why not all dash cams come with GPS.
Dual lens / Multi-channel
Dashboard cameras with two or more lenses are known as multi-channel dash cams. Usually one lens faces forward out through the windshield, and the other one faces back into the passenger room of the car. Unfortunately, current multi-channel dash cams are still quite expensive and the video quality is not that good. For this reason I will only be featuring single-channel dash cams on this site, at least until the quality improves.
Make sure your unit comes with a sturdy mount, or a way to atatch to the rear view mirror.
Are Dashboard Cameras Legal?
Of course this depends on where you live, so I can’t offer any reliable legal advice here. If you have doubts about the legality of dash cams in your area, please consult with your local authorities.
That said, if it is legal in your country to take pictures and record videos in public streets (e.g. with a mobile phone), then using a camera mounted in your car will probably be equally legal. Especially as you won’t be recording any conversations people may be having.
The dash cam’s microphone is located inside the vehicle, so you can’t accidentally overhear any confidential talks. Do inform people traveling with you in the car though, that the dash cam will be recording anything they say, or turn audio recording off if you prefer.
How To Install A Dashboard Camera?
Even though it’s called a dash cam, it’s not advisable to install your camera on the dashboard directly. Dash cams are usually mounted with a suction cup high on the windshield, facing slightly down so that you can just see the tip of the hood. That way you avoid washed out pictures when driving towards the sun.
What Kind Of Storage Cards Do Dash Cams Use?
Most cameras use SD or Micro SD cards, with a capacity anywhere between 2 and 64 GB. For high definition video recording, class 10 cards are recommended (capable of a 10 Mbit/second data rate).
Except where noted otherwise, most cameras come without storage cards.
Best Dash Cam Reviews for 2022
No matter whether you’re planning to get the latest in technology for your car or you’re on a budget and looking for a camera that delivers great value for little money, be sure to check out our detailed reviews of the best dashboard cameras on the market in 2022.
What Else Would You Like To Know About Dash Cams?
Is there anything that you would like to know about dash cams that wasn’t covered in the FAQ? Let me know in the comments, and I will update the site as soon as possible!