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Published Jan. 28, 2021

A few years ago, a dashboard camera was a niche item found mostly in the vehicles of law enforcement and automotive enthusiasts. However, as the general public became more aware of their benefits, dash cams have been increasingly used by casual owners for protecting their cars. Today, dash cams come with a wide range of features and strengths, so whether you need sharp, crisp images or just happy memories of your family road trip, there is an option out there for you.

Unfortunately, the ceiling for the price of electronic gadgets like these can be pretty high, but it is possible to find a dash camera that fits your needs for an affordable price, even if it doesn’t have every feature available on the market. With a little searching, you can even find high-performance dash cams under $100. Luckily, you don’t have to search because we’ve put together this list of our favorites.

The Best Dash Cams Under $100

The Kingslim D2 is an all-around well-built dashboard camera with some of the best features on the market offered at an affordable price. When you go with this dash camera, you’re investing in two cameras because it comes with front and rearview lenses that can record simultaneously in 1440p and 1080p, respectively. With up to 128GB of storage, you can record even more hours of high-quality footage, which will automatically loop to replace old footage if you need the space. The D2 is equipped with a Sony Starvis imaging sensor that ensures high-quality recording, even at night, offering much clearer footage than most comparable dash cams can show.

One thing to consider is that this dash cam has short battery life. Also, even though it has two cameras, you can only view one camera at a time.

Key Features
  • Front and rear cameras record at 1440 and 1080p
  • 3-inch IPS screen
  • Charges via mini-USB
  • Supports micro-SD cards up to 128GB
Specification
  • Brand Kingslim
  • Model D2
  • Weight 1.1 pounds
PROS

Dual cameras record simultaneously

G-sensor locks and records video in emergencies

Equipped with Sony Starvis Nightvision

CONS

Shorter battery life

Only view one camera at a time

Bulkier to contain more parts

Despite its small size, this dash camera records in full high definition at 1080p and features a 3-inch LCD and a 170-degree wide-angle lens capable of covering a larger view area around the vehicle. It also uses a unique WDR system to improve the brightness and definition of footage taken at night or in bright conditions. Ainhyzic’s dash cam comes with a G-sensor that allows it to safely lock your footage and start recording when it detects any impact to the car. This function continues working even while the vehicle is off, so you can feel safe knowing that any collisions that occur while parked will be recorded.

Although there are some impressive features to this dash cam, it does have fewer features than competitors. The recordings are also of lower quality compared to other dash cameras on the market.

Key Features
  • Records in 1080p HD
  • Captures dark images with WDR
  • Automatically starts recording on impact
  • 170-degree wide-angle lens
Specification
  • Brand Ainhyzic
  • Model ADC121
  • Weight 8.8 ounces
PROS

Lots of features for a low cost

Built-in parking monitor

Comes with a two-year warranty

CONS

Fewer features than competitors

Lower quality recordings than competitors

The V1’s impressive camera records in 4k at a crystal-clear 2160p. You don’t have to worry about running out of space either because it supports micro-SD cards with up to a whopping 256GB of space, allowing you to keep hours of more footage than cameras with smaller card support. The V1 dash camera’s biggest perk is that it can be controlled entirely via mobile app, allowing you to access all of its features and storage without any hassle of tiny buttons or touch screens on the camera itself.

While this dash camera has premium features, it also comes at a premium price point, at just under the $100 mark. Users have also said that this dash cam has poor night vision.

Key Features
  • Records in 4K at 2160p
  • 2.4-inch LCD screen
  • Supports micro-SD cards up to 256GB
  • Connects to Wi-Fi
Specification
  • Brand Rexing
  • Model V1
  • Weight 5 ounces
PROS

Supercapacitor keeps it from overheating

Can be operated via mobile app

Discreet design

CONS

Poor night vision

High price point

The Apeman C450 is a reliable 1080p dash cam that offers a substantial array of functions. In addition to recording in full HD, the C450 uses an F1.8 large aperture lens combined with WDR technology to capture clearer pictures at day or night. This is a great choice if you’re buying a dash cam for security reasons, as its superior night vision works alongside a built-in G-sensor and motion detectors to monitor threats near your car 24 hours a day. After detecting any impact or shaking of the vehicle, it will secure your stored footage and start recording immediately.

It should be noted that this dash cam has short battery life. Also, reviewers have complained about its clunky interface.

Key Features
  • Records in 1080p FHD
  • 3-inch LCD Screen
  • F1.8 large aperture for recording at night
  • Emergency Accident Lock
Specification
  • Brand Apeman
  • Model C450 Series A
  • Weight 12 ounces
PROS

Rotates 360 degrees

Superior night vision

Compact and user-friendly

CONS

Short battery life

Clunky interface

The Toguard Dual Dash Cam offers two cameras that can simultaneously record forwards and backward at 1080p and 720p, respectively, making this an ideal dash cam for professional drivers and family road-trips alike. While it doesn’t offer the comprehensive guides that a built-in back-up camera can provide, rearview dash cams such as this can help you get the whole picture while moving in reverse. Toguard’sToguard’s dash cam also works great at night, using four infrared lights to increase the quality of images that would typically be too dark to make out. Combine that with its 170-degree wide-angle lens (140 degrees for the rearview), and you won’t be disappointed by your new points of view.

Before purchasing this dash cam, some things to consider are that it has a smaller display screen and its resolution isn’t as high as one would expect from this price point.

Key Features
  • Front and rear cameras record in 1080p and 720p
  • 1.5-inch LCD display
  • Four infrared LED lights and F1.8 aperture
  • Supports a 32gb micro-SD card
Specification
  • Brand Toguard
  • Model CE41
  • Weight 1.12 pounds
PROS

Simultaneously record front and back

Wide-angle lenses

Reliable after-sales service

CONS

Could offer higher resolution

Small display screen

The Pathinglek Dash Cam earned its spot on our list by offering many of our favorite dash cams’ standard features at a slightly lower price point. This dash cam records in 1080p and features automatic loop recording to overwrite old footage that you don’t need. You won’t miss a thing either, because the super wide-angle camera lens is capable of recording up to four lanes at once, giving you a good view of the highway while driving. It is also a good option from a safety standpoint due to its anti-thief motion sensors that activate when people come near the vehicle, even while you are parked or away. It also comes with an extra rubber mount.

While the features in this dash cam are handy, the dash cam itself could be sturdier and more durable. It also lacks in how much footage it can store.

Key Features
  • Records in 1080p
  • 3-inch IPS screen
  • Built-in G-sensor
  • Automatic loop recording
Specification
  • Brand Pathinglek
  • Model 5864147290
  • Weight 8.8 ounces
PROS

Wide-angle lens covers four lanes

Anti-thief motion sensors

Includes a spare mount

CONS

Lacks large storage space

Could be sturdier

Fans of Apeman’s other products will feel right at home with the Apeman C420, a scaled-down version of their other dash cam to provide the high-quality features you’re used to in a more compact container. On top of recording in 1080p through its 170-degree wide-angle lens, this dash cam features a 2-inch LCD screen, all while fitting nicely behind your rearview mirror. The C420 is an excellent option if you’re in the market for a discreet mini dash cam or if you love Apeman’s other products but need to save space in your car. Its small size makes it perfect for people who like to keep their dash cam concealed, or if you hate clutter.

With this dash cam’s smaller size comes smaller storage space and a smaller display. However, if you prefer a compact model, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Key Features
  • Records in 1080p
  • 2-inch LCD screen
  • Supports a 32GB micro-SD card
  • Wide-angle lens
Specification
  • Brand Apeman
  • Model C420
  • Weight 9.6 ounces
PROS

Fits behind your rearview mirror

Seamless loop recording

Parking Surveillance Mode

CONS

Smaller storage

Smaller display

The Aukey DRA5 is the perfect dash cam if you’re looking for powerful features and a wide view angle contained in a lightweight package. This is one of the smallest dash cams under $100 on the market, and it still manages to offer 1080p recording, WDR night vision technology, and a built-in G-sensor.  Its extra-wide lens gives you the full view of up to six lanes of the road, while its special emergency recording function starts capturing footage as soon as it detects an impact or shaking of the car. Combine it with the Aukey PM-YY hardwire kit to keep your vehicle safe and watched all day long.

A few things to consider with this dash cam is that its parking monitor costs extra, so be sure to factor that cost into your budget. Also, it has to stay plugged into your car for it to work.

Key Features
  • Records in 1080p
  • 1.5-inch LCD screen
  • Built-in G-sensor
  • 170-degree lens
Specification
  • Brand Aukey
  • Model DRA5
  • Weight 1.06 ounces
PROS

Compact design

WDR technology for recording at night

Full six-lane view

CONS

Parking monitor costs extra

Has to stay plugged into your car

The 70mai Smart Dash Cam Pro is an incredibly high-quality dash cam, built for those who want to avoid bulky products and clunky interfaces. The main feature is 70mai’s iOS/Android mobile app that allows you to control the camera remotely from your smartphone as long as you have a Wi-Fi signal. The mobile app features voice commands, so you can take full control of your dash cam without taking your eyes off of the road. On top of its advanced functionality, the Smart Dash Cam Pro records footage in 1944p, which one of the higher resolutions available of the dash cams under $100 that we found.

While the mobile features in this dash cam are handy, it should be noted that you need to be connected to Wi-Fi for them to work. Also, you need to purchase a rechargeable battery separately to charge this dash cam.

Key Features
  • Records in 1944p
  • 2-inch LCD screen
  • Emergency Accident Lock
  • Wi-Fi Enabled
Specification
  • Brand 70mai
  • Model B07J38GF1C
  • Weight 3.52 ounces
PROS

Mobile app

Voice control

High-quality resolution

CONS

Requires purchasing a rechargeable battery

Small screen

Most features require Wi-Fi

Best Dash Cams Under $100 Buying Guide & FAQ

If you’re perusing the list above and still want more information to help you make the most-informed purchase you possibly can, below are some of the basic things you might want to know if you’re buying a dash cam under $100 for the first time.

Most product pages list all sorts of features and specifications, but it can be hard to know which facts will most affect your enjoyment of your dash cam. We’ll go over the most common uses for dash cams, as well as the necessary options you’ll have to consider before buying.

Why Do You Need a Dash Cam?

Not everyone needs a dash cam — if you just use your car for errands and commuting and you have a safe place to park it near your home, then your dash cam might not pick up anything worth recording very often. However, if you’re on the road a lot, then there are a myriad of reasons you might find a dash cam useful. 

Car video camera attached to the windshield
A Dash cam can easily attach to your windshield.

Auto-enthusiasts, professional drivers, and avid road-trippers are all likely to get the most out of their new dash cam. They are great for recording the road around you in case of an accident nearby, and that footage could be important evidence for the police and insurance companies. If your new, expensive touch-screen car stereo gets stolen or damaged, you want to be able to get your full compensation if possible. You can use them to record outside the car or even inside to capture some candid photos of your family vacation or protect yourself legally from passengers you are carrying.

  • Capture amazing sights and family memories in the car.
  • Gather evidence for insurance claims when you are involved in a collision.
  • Record passengers and clients in your backseat.
  • Secure your vehicle from thieves and vandals while parked.

Types of Dash Cams 

With so many dash cams under $100 on the market, it can be tough to tell them apart, let alone choose between them all. However, though many dash cams are indeed quite similar to each other, there are a few major types that might help you narrow down what you’re looking for.

Dash Cams with Two Cameras

A popular feature for many dash cams is the presence of dual cameras that record in two directions simultaneously. You can use these dash cams to record both your front and rear views, which could be very useful if you’re a professional driver who needs to keep an eye on your passengers and your fellow drivers at the same time.

When buying a dual-camera dash cam, it’s important to note that the cameras will often record at different resolutions, so one direction will capture higher-quality images than the other. If you need crystal-clear footage from multiple directions, you might be better off with multiple separate dash cams.

Dash Cams that Use Mobile Apps

While most dash cams have an interface made up of buttons and touch-sensitive displays, this is not always the case. Some dash cams can connect to local Wi-Fi signals, which, among other benefits such as cloud storage, allows you to operate it entirely from your phone using the company’s wireless mobile app.

Mobile-controlled dash cams offer more precise options and all of the comforts of navigating through your smartphone’s familiar interface. They can give you direct access to the storage and allow you to manipulate it easily. However, you must always have Wi-Fi available to make use of it, which isn’t always possible on the road.

Discreet Mini Dash Cams

If your main concern in looking for a dash cam is your vehicle’s security, you might want a dash cam that is difficult to perceive from outside the car. By choosing a discreet mini dash cam, you can place it surreptitiously in the vehicle’s interior and record the goings on nearby unnoticed. 

Potential criminals won’t notice the camera until they are much closer to your vehicle, increasing the likelihood that it records identifying details in the event of nefarious behavior. The risk of going with these smaller dash cams is that the camera itself is often lower quality than larger cameras at the same price point, so make sure to check the resolution it records at, as well as its night vision capabilities.

What to Look for When Buying Dash Cams 

Beyond general types of dash cams, there are many more features to consider when comparing dash cams under $100. Even more than looking at lists of individual elements, you might want to think about how different features come together to affect your ultimate experience.

One important consideration is how much storage space the camera supports. Most dash cams are compatible with micro-SD cards, but there is a wide range in how large of a card it may accept. If your dash cam records footage in 4K but can only store 16gb of files, it will run out of space very quickly.

Another small feature to look at is the size and quality of the dash cam’s display. You’ll need that display to watch your new footage on the go and view the camera’s various menus and folders, so it’s important to know what you’re getting.

The Most Important Features of Dash Cams 

A few features stand above the rest as the most vital to a quality dash cam: the resolution it records at, the intuitiveness of the interface, and the safety measures that it offers. Below, we’ve laid out the major considerations so that you can learn more about these factors.

Resolution

All cameras record at different resolutions, which is another way of saying they capture larger or smaller images. The resolution that is right for you depends on your preference and price range. Larger images will look better when viewed on screens that are bigger than your dash cam’s display.

If you’re buying a dash cam for casual use, you might be fine choosing a lower resolution to save some money. However, if you’re a professional videographer who needs footage for your reel, then all those extra pixels could help take your work to the next level. There is a spectrum of resolutions available, so it is possible to find options in the middle.

Interface

There are many types of interfaces that dash cams and other modern gadgets use. The most common type is pressable buttons, but there are other options available as well. Some dash cams have touch-screens built into their displays to save space, while others remove the interface from the camera entirely and use a mobile app to control them instead.

More advanced interface systems generally result in higher prices. Newer technologies also carry the risk of being underdeveloped and potentially glitchy if it is not well-implemented. Each option comes with strengths and weaknesses, so you’ll have to decide what is important to you.

Safety

Perhaps the most important function of dash cams in modern society is to increase your vehicle’s safety, your possessions, and your person while driving. Many dash cams come with a variety of security functions to keep you safe—such as a backup camera—but it’s important to know what you have access to if you want to make the most of it. 

Among the various features available are motion detectors and G-sensors to detect when the car is in danger. Night vision is popular for many dash cams, but it can be especially helpful for security at night. Some dash cams even have a specific parking monitor mode that puts it into a low-energy state while still waiting to detect any potential threats nearby.

Car camcorder display installed inside the car
There are plenty of quality dash cams to be had for under $100.

Best Dash Cams FAQ:

In this section, we’ve got a few more of the most common questions about owning a dash cam answered for your convenience so you can get back to finding the best dash cam for you. Take a quick look and see if it helps you make up your mind.

Q: Can I turn my phone into a dash cam?

There are apps available for iOS and Android that let you use your smartphone as a dash cam, but these apps are often incredibly battery intensive.

Q: Can I leave my dash cam on overnight?

Many popular dash cams have a Parking Surveillance mode that records continuously but only saves footage when it detects motion, saving space and energy.

Q: Does a dash cam record speed?

Some dash cams are capable of recording your speed, either continuously or in an emergency. Check to make sure it is an included feature before making your purchase.

Our Top Pick

Overall, we chose the Kingslim D2 as our top pick because it offers powerful features and a wide array of functions without rising too high in the pack in terms of its price point. While some dash cams are better and others are cheaper, the D2 just can’t be beat for what you’re paying for it.

Final Thoughts

Now you’ve got all the info you need to make an informed purchase. Whether it’s the overall quality of the Kingslim D2, or the value of the Ainhyzic ADC121, a dash cam is a great addition for any driver. 

Sources:

  1. Dashcam – Wikipedia

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