In this ultimate guide, you’ll find everything there is to know about Dash Cams.
I personally tested over 23 best front and rear dashboards cameras and reviewed the top picks below that offer the best balance of image quality, features, functions, reliability & price.
Check out the Updated list of best dash cams below.
Best Dash Cams
1. Vantrue OnDash N2 Pro
The Vantrue OnDash N2 Pro features two cameras in one housing capturing road views in front of your vehicle and activity inside the vehicle. Whether you have an active family or provide ride-share or taxi services, this is one of the best dual dash cam devices for simultaneous road safety and passenger security recording. Front camera view of up to 1440p provides 170 degrees for good detail and clarity even at night. Easily angled rear-facing interior camera provides 1080p HD resolution with a 140 degree field of view.
- Dual 1080p HD cameras enable simultaneous front-of-vehicle and interior camera video or single-cam mode for front-facing camera only at a sharp 1440p HD resolution
- Even at night the interior cabin view camera gains a clear view of both front and rear seats using infrared LED lighting
- 170-degree front view and 140-degree interior cabin view capture footage at 30 frames per second or through the front camera only at 60 frames per second
- Seamless loop recording overwrites aged footage with current video to fully utilize memory card capacity
- G-sensor detects vehicle shake or collision and locks captured footage to a protected event file
- Accepts microSD cards up to 64GB, class 10 formatted to FAT32
- For GPS functionality of the OnDash N2 Pro you must purchase a separate GPS mount
- Ideal only for environmental temperatures above 32 degrees, so not well suited for colder climates
- The microSD memory card is not included and must be purchased separately by the customer
2. Old Shark 1080p Dash Cam
If you are on a budget but want a quality dash cam, the Old Shark 1080p Dash Cam provides quality on a shoestring. The Old Shark records 1080p HD for standard high definition detail for a 170-degree field of view at 30 frames per second. This dash cam works well in all lighting for day and night clarity. A G-sensor detects incidents and automatically locks videos to protect accident footage. Features of the Old Shark 1080p Dash Cam rival more expensive cameras, including loop recording, motion detection, night vision, timestamping, parking monitoring, instant playback and more.
- Mounts easily to windshield and easily powers for automatic driving recording
- Great clarity in recording, instant playback and menu selection for the price, including a sharp three-inch LCD display
- The GS505 Dash Cam comes with a 32GB microSD card, power cable, suction mount, cable clips, USB adapter, USB transfer cable and gift package
- Dash cam protected by 45 day manufacturer’s money-back guarantee with 18 month warranty and lifetime customer service
- Windshield suction mount frequently fails after standard use and melts in extreme heat, so many customers purchase a third-party mount
- Printed English instructions are difficult to understand due to grammatical and syntax errors and do not fully cover the camera’s functionality
- Menu review and programming of the camera is cumbersome as compared to other dash camera models
3. Garmin Dash Cam Mini
Offering great overall performance and value, the Garmin Dash Cam offers more features than expected for the price, including a nice three-inch LED screen. This Garmin records 1080p high definition imagery at 30 frames per second for clear detail. The 180 degree field of view provides accurate representation of the environment and vehicles in front of you. The camera records for an hour on its included microSD card and features automatic recording when a collision incident occurs. Additional features include forward collision, red light camera and speed camera warnings. The unit also doubles as a still photo camera for documenting accident damage and scene evidence.
- A large three inch viewing screen means easy footage review and menu operation
- 1080p HD video recording at 30 frames per second for video and still photography for accident scene documentation
- Features automatic recording upon impact, forward collision warning, red light camera warning and optional speed camera warning signals
- The model available in the United States does not record audio, so all video is silent
- For recording periods longer than one hour, you must purchase an available 64GB microSD card that is sold separately
- The speed camera warning function requires a paid subscription and is illegal in some jurisdictions
4. Papago GoSafe 535
An all-around best bet, the Papago GoSafe 535 is an affordable, small, easy-to-use dash cam with outstanding screen resolution of 2304×1296 at 30 frames per second. You do not miss the details even in difficult lighting conditions, with this camera’s crisp imagery and sharp resolution. A wide, 160 degree field of view captures what other dash cams cut off without making cars ahead appear farther away. High resolution means you can zoom in during footage review to pick up the details on the included 8GB microSD card or optional memory cards up to 64GB. The GoSafe 535 mounts easily on your windshield and operates automatically every time you drive. Using the camera is easy and it provides reliable imagery with the most important features for your best footage.
- A small, affordable camera that is easy to install and use but still provides top quality video at 1296p resolution for catching even small details
- 160 degree wide angle field of view for sharp imagery even at night or in bad weather conditions
- Includes a free 8GB micro SD card but accommodates up to 64GB micro SD card for eight hours of footage at the 1080p setting
- Three recording settings provide footage you need: Automatic for loop video, monitor mode for one image per second and motion-activated recording
- Getting help from Papago customer service can be difficult, in regard to responsiveness and solutions for defects
- Light adjustment for night or other changing lighting conditions is manual and not automatically adjusted by the camera
- Provided mobile device cables are compatible with android devices only, adapter or iPhone cord sold separately
- The camera features only a small two-inch footage viewing screen, so for detail footage must be reviewed on a compatible device
5. Magellan MiVue 538 DashCam
The Magellan MiVue 538 DashCam provides high quality super HD resolution at 2304×1296 for great detail even in nighttime or inclement weather conditions. The HD display of this dash cam is 2.7 inches for adequate replay of captured footage and clarity for field of view. The camera’s integrated GPS receiver handily records your travel statistics along with video, including the GPS location and vehicle speed. The Parking Watch mode wakes up the camera for recording when it detects any impact while the vehicle is parked.
- Super sharp 1296p HD resolution and GPS receiver provide sharp detail, location and vehicle speed information for well-informed video capture of events
- The large 2.7-inch high definition display makes playback of recorded footage as easy in the vehicle as on other devices
- Performs well with great video quality at night and in low light conditions with the camera’s enhanced low light features
- Simply pointing the camera lens toward potential parking impact areas captures post-impact events automatically while the car is in park
- Useful lane departure and forward collision safety alerts can be over-active and annoying, but are also easily turned off
- 140-degree, narrower field of view and slightly more complex operations than some other dash cams
- Slightly more expensive than some other models with broader fields of view, but counterbalances through quality Magellan customer service
6. Garmin Dash Cam 65W
If you are looking for a small profile camera, the Garmin Dash Cam 65W takes up little space but includes lots of features. Magnetically held on its windshield mount, the small Garmin Dash Cam 65W provides a wide 180 degree field of view to capture your position, cars ahead of you and scenery. Safety alerts, WiFi, GPS and voice control dress the camera up but it still provides detailed exposure and color accuracy for around-the-clock lighting.
- A wide field of view, great video quality and lots of extra features provide good value for the camera’s price
- Extra features include GPS, WiFi, voice control and safety alerts for forward collision, lane departure, red light cameras and speed cameras
- Cross traffic, more of your environment and a full field of view are captured through 180-degrees of view
- The 2.1 megapixel camera works even in low light of nighttime and inclement weather for detailed 1080p video capture
- Automatic incident detection G-sensor captures footage of impact and aftermath with GPS location stamping
- Pricier than other dash cams, so cost may outweigh your practical or desired feature preferences
- 180 degree viewpoint makes cars and objects in front of the vehicle appear farther away than they really are
- Warnings for red light cameras and speed cameras require a paid subscription
7. Rexing Wide Angle Dashboard Camera
As far as budget-priced dash cams, the Rexing Wide Angle Dash Cam provides great value. With this camera you get great HD video quality and many usable features for at or under $100. The Rexing features 1080p HD video with a 170 degree field of view at 30 frames per second. This means you capture every necessary detail when you need it. The camera features important collision detection and locks those videos to prevent overwriting of the important footage. You can choose the length of your looping video files, in increments of three, five or 10 minutes. The camera also accommodates up to 128GB microSD cards for greater capacity than most dash cams allow, at about 22 hours of 1080p or 40 hours of 720p recording.
- Fits up to 128GB microSD card for lengthy recording of up to 40 hours for your long road trips
- You choose duration of the video loop, filming in increments of three, five or 10 minutes
- Features 1080p high definition, 170 degree field of view, 30 frames per second quality recording
- Offers many desirable features of more expensive camera models, yet priced at $100 or less
- Nighttime video recording is lower quality than other cameras, only providing views of the roadway or traffic in your headlight beams
- Windshield mounting adhesive tends to fail in extreme heat or cold and requires replacement of the adhesive only
8. Z-Edge Z3 Dash Cam
The budget-conscious Z-Edge Z3 Dash Cam provides recording of high quality Super HD footage with impressive resolution at 2560 x 1080p. F1.8 six layer glass lenses pick up fantastic night vision detail, so your night videos are as clear as day recordings. The camera mounts on your windshield and features a 170-degree field of view for clear view of the road and wide surroundings. Unlike many dash cams, this one features an out-of-the-box 32GB microSD card, so you have lengthy recording time from the start.
- The camera’s G-sensor provides automatic crash or vibration detection for recording of accidents or parking lot dings as they happen
- Camera kit comes with a 32GB microSD card and extra-long USB cable for easy setup and lengthy recording
- Clear three-inch screen provides excellent clarity for footage review and menu navigation, also auto-switching off for energy savings
- Budget pricing with the most important features, a sizeable memory card, quality imagery and broad field of view in HD
- There is no GPS functionality for automatic logging of location during recording or at the time of an accident
- The camera does not feature WiFi connectivity, so there are no WiFi related functions or features
- Optional G-sensor is highly sensitive and activates on some vehicles when doors or trunk are closed during normal use
Dash Cameras Buyer’s Guide
If you are seeking the best dash cam for your personal or business needs, you need to first flush out what those specific needs include. These are your considerations for buying your dash cam. Below are several features, options and functions you need to consider before shopping for a dash cam, so you can find the best possible fit.
Your Dash Camera’s Point of View
If you only want to record what you see in front of your vehicle, most dash cams will suit your needs. Most of today’s dash cameras actually mount on your windshield, focusing on the road ahead of your vehicle to a specific field of view. These are known as single-lens dash cams.
If you want to record video of behind your vehicle, as well as through the front windshield, you need a dual-lens dash cam. A dual-lens dash cam simply includes two camera lenses, also known as “channels.” These cameras record footage through both lenses at the same time.
Dual-lens dash cams are available for recording through the front windshield and rear of the car at the same time, as mentioned before. But they are also available for recording video through the windshield and inside your vehicle. This means you can see what is happening outside the car and inside among passengers, at the same time.
These types of dual-lens dash cams are perfect for drivers shuttling passengers as part of ride-share or taxi services. They also work well for fleet managers, delivery companies or parents wanting to monitor people inside the vehicle, as well as the road ahead. But anyone can benefit from a dual-lens dash cam, particularly when it comes to proving your actions as part of an accident case.
Some dual-lens dash cams have fixed lenses on one camera body. Other dual-channel dash cams feature secondary cameras that can be positioned to whatever viewpoint you choose. You can record out the side of the vehicle or within the passenger compartment, according to your own needs. It can also be used for security, angled specifically toward valuable equipment or cargo in the vehicle.
Camera Visibility in Your Vehicle
Dash cams are available to suit most needs. These needs may include an inconspicuously sized dash cam mounted in the windshield, one less visible to passers-by. These cameras are less prone to raising risk for vehicle break-in or vandalism.
If you want a discrete dash cam, some models are so small and hidden from view that people outside of the vehicle either cannot see the camera or are unaware that it is a camera device. Many of these position on the windshield behind the rear view mirror.
If you simply prefer an unobtrusive, small and non-distracting dash cam, many miniature models are available on the market to suit this need. These dash cams do not necessarily sacrifice features or functionality, either. Many small dash cams still have built-in screens and other capabilities, albeit at smaller size.
Of course, if you prefer a large LED screen for video playback in your vehicle, many dash cams feature three-inch screens or larger. If you have a substantially-sized, expensive or highly visible dash cam, most insurance companies and security experts recommend taking the cam out of your vehicle as you would your cell phone or wallet.
Quality of the Dash Cam’s Video Footage
Do you want to see every detail in high definition video, or do you simply want a “bigger picture” view of what happens on the road? Most cameras today provide great quality. But dash cam video quality still varies enough from camera to camera that you must consider what quality you need.
Some models of dash cams feature standard video quality at 480p to a higher quality at 720p. For high definition review of footage, such as on an HD video screen or television, you will want HD 1080p or the highest possible quality on today’s market, at Super HD 1296p.
Remember that the higher the quality, the better your video detail. If you want to read vehicle makes, models and license plate digits, you need high definition of at least 1080p. Night video quality is better at high definition, too. But of course, higher definition equals higher cost.
GPS Location Tracking
Many new dash cams provide GPS vehicle position logging. Many of these models also feature speed tracking through the built-in global positioning system, too. This capability means your video playback provides Google mapping of your vehicle adjacent to the video display.
Benefits of GPS logging include fleet vehicle tracking, court defense against inaccurate speeding tickets, proving your whereabouts at particular times and accident detail. These GPS systems either include a built-in antenna as part of the camera body or GPS signal receipt through external antenna and cabling. External cabling and antennas work much like a satellite radio system does.
Optional Turn-By-Turn Navigation
Dash cams today provide many optional features, such as navigation. This means you can let your smartphone or GPS rest and rely only on one device for recording video and providing turn-by-turn instructions. This navigation works like your smartphone app or other vehicle GPS system. You simply enter an address as the destination and let the device do the rest, providing both audible and mapped visual directions.
This type of dash cam enables you to remove the windshield or dash-mounted navigation system. It reduces the number of devices obstructing your view or cluttering the car.
Business or Fleet Vehicle Use
If you are using your dash cam for business, you want a model adequate for meeting your specific needs. A business dash cam is usually dual-channel, meaning two camera views. One camera records video through the front windshield, showing the vehicle’s path and maneuvers. The other camera usually records into the passenger cabin, showing the driver and vehicle occupants.
Some dual channel dash cams feature tamper-proof casings and mounts. This means the camera cannot be disabled or disconnected. On these professional dash cams, memory cards cannot be removed or erased. Some of these dash cams also provide remote tracking, so the vehicle owner can keep up with the vehicle’s location at all times.
Memory Card Capacity
How long your dash cam records video relies on the capacity of storage on the memory card. After the memory card is full, most dash cams loop the video and overwrite older footage.
Dash cam memory card quality is measured primarily by write speed and capacity. Write speed determines the memory card class, with that class being rated as 1, 2, 4, 6 or 10. A higher class card writes data at faster speed and provides better quality of video playback, among other benefits. So you should aim for a class 6 card or a class 10.
How many hours of video your memory card can hold is determined by its gigabytes, known simply as “GBs.” An 8GB memory card will hold two to three hours of video before looping the recording and overwriting older footage. A 16GB card provides four to six hours of consecutive recording. For six to 12 hours of recording you need a 32GB card. A 64GB card provides 10 to 20 hours of recorded footage before looping and a 128GB card provides between 20 and 40 hours. All of these times are for HD recording. For standard definition video of up to 720p, these recording times double.
A commercial truck driver or fleet vehicle owner benefits from longer spans. A typical personal vehicle driver may not need to store more than mere minutes’ worth of footage, particularly if the camera just serves accident recording purposes. How long you need your memory card to record depends on the purpose of your recordings. Remember that many dash cams only work with memory cards up to a particular capacity. This means that it does you no good to buy a 128GB memory card, if your camera only accepts cards up to 32GB.
Temporary or Permanent Dash Cam Installation
Some people are okay with temporary dash cam setups, using power cables leading to a cigarette lighter or other power outlet. Other people prefer no power cables show and want a sleek, clean appearance to their vehicle’s devices. If you want permanent installation without power cords left dangling, you can install your dash cam using vehicle power system access. Of course, running off your vehicle’s switched power system means your dash cam only operates when your car is running. But this method of permanent installation frees your cigarette lighter power outlet for other purposes.
WiFi Connectivity for Your Dash Cam
WiFi is an important feature for many devices today. Your dash cam is no different. Having WiFi connectivity means your dash cam syncs to your phone, tablet or other devices. This provides important functionality, such as using your phone, laptop or tablet as a video screen accessing and controlling the dash cam.
Having WiFi connectivity also typically enables you to watch and download your dash cam videos. You can change the camera’s settings using smartphone or tablet apps. When you want to share videos from your dash cam on social media or as shared video, being WiFi enabled allows this.
WiFi connection is particularly important after an auto accident or other insurance claim incident. You can easily share dash cam footage with your insurance company, law enforcement officers or others, whether through email, video sharing services or on social media.
Using the dash cam’s WiFi app usually does not require connection to a cellular data plan or provider. Many dash cams have cloud capabilities enabling you to link your camera to an internet service provider or hotspot for full features. These connections enable some dash cams to provide live streaming, location tracking and important alerts, such as if someone hits your parked vehicle. Under these circumstances, WiFi connection is like having your eyes on your vehicle and its immediate surroundings at all times.
Important Dash Cam Specifications and Features to Consider
Regardless of your dash cam purpose, there are certain important features to consider when buying your camera and accessories. The most critical features for dash cam shoppers include:
- Video resolution, with most purposes requiring at least 720p and best detail seen at 1080p or above
- Storage capacity, with best use at 64GB or higher
- Night vision, since many accidents occur at night
Secondary to these critical features are the below needs many people buying dash cams consider important:
- Automatic on and off, starting with your car and turning off when your car is at rest
- Camera size, not blocking your field of vision or causing distraction
- Loop recording, to continue recording by overwriting older, unneeded footage
Below are useful attributes for your dash cam that you may or may not need:
- Impact sensor or G-sensor, detecting accidents or other impact with your vehicle to automatically record when these incidents occur and even when parked
- GPS to accurately provide vehicle location, speed and other defensive information
- Dual cameras, for recording of the front field of view and either inside the vehicle or behind it
- Built-in mounting, to ensure your dash cam is stable on the windshield or dash instead of being loosely positioned in the vehicle
- WiFi enabled, to unlock all of the smartphone and other device connectivity and applications available for your dash cam
Dash Cams Q&A
How many frames per second does the dash cam record?
A good dash cam records video at 30 frames per second, but also may provide other options at a slower speed to take up less recording space.
Is the camera suited to intense heat or cold weather operation?
Both cold weather and hot weather affect everything from the camera’s adhesive grip on your windshield, to melting parts from direct sun. You need a dash cam showing it works at extreme temperatures, like the KDLINKS DX2 Full-HD 1080P Front + 720P Rear Dash Cam.
How is the camera mounted and does that mounting damage the car’s interior surface?
Most dash cams today use an adhesive mount on the windshield. This method usually causes no harm to the vehicle’s interior.
For capturing clearer perspective around the vehicle, what is the field of view in degrees?
A 180-degree dash cam field of view provides a full scenic view in front of the vehicle or behind it, to its sides. But with the 180-degree view vehicles directly in front of the camera appear farther away than they really are. A 140-degree field of view is still broad, but alters vehicle distance perception less.
Is a memory card included, and if so what capacity is the memory card?
32GB is the optimum memory card length for a loop recording dash cam. Less GB means the recording must loop in shorter sequences or you need to record at lower quality. For someone who drives long distances or records for long periods, optimum size may be 64GB or even higher.
Is the dash cam compatible with other devices?
You need to decide whether you want to perform extended dash cam actions on your smart devices, in your car or on a device outside of the vehicle. Most people find greatest convenience in having a dash cam that is WiFi enabled to work on its own, as well as from an Internet enabled smartphone, tablet or computer.