One of the most useful car-related gadgets of the last decade has been the utilization of the dash cam. It’s not just for police cruisers anymore—you can have your own way to reel back the tape, and figure out what happened. They’re useful for dealing with your insurance company, defining who was at-fault in an accident, and help you capture things on camera, such as funny moments, or, potentially, crimes that need to be reported. All in all, they’re useful gadgets with excellent benefits. Let’s jump into it.
Best Rated Dash Cams in 2018:
1. KDLINKS X1 Full-HD G-Sensor Dashcam
The cream of the crop, the king of the hill—KDLINKS brings us all the features you want in one package, all without breaking the bank. This comes in full HD 1920 x 1080p, giving you excellent details on your surroundings, and the profiles of individuals you may need on camera if you use your dashcam in an emergency situation. Excellent render.
Apart from the quality of the video capture, you get a 2.7” screen to view it on. This unit comes with an 8GB SD card that’s preformatted to work with your dashcam straight out of the package. If your package doesn’t arrive until nightfall, don’t worry—the night vision on this camera surpasses any other night vision we tested. Couple that with the dynamic range capabilities, and there’s nothing this camera can’t capture.
Ready for this? Works up to 170F, and as low as -40F. Unless you keep the doors open in the arctic or you’re trying to boil water, you’re not going to even come near these temperatures. This will last through anything. Your built-in GPS function allows you to track your movements on Google Maps; an invaluable tool for figuring out the at-fault party during an accident.
Apart from these eccentric and epic features, you get a full one-year warranty on all hardware. The only time you may need to call upon that is if your commute takes you over a bunch of bumpy roads; enough turbulence could cause the chassis to fracture. Other than that, this is the ultimate dashcam, the one that goes up to 165 degrees of rotation, the one with a G-sensor and emergency lock button—it’s the one you need.
1920 x 1080 HD video capture
Excellent night vision mode
Built-in GPS module
- Weight1.15 pounds
Quality and price are balanced
Emergency lock button w/ auto accident detection
One-year warranty on hardware issues
Formatting a new SD card for switch-out use is a pain
2. WheelWitness 2K HD Car Security Cam
Excellent resolution and a three-way mounting feature await you. For any dashcam of any brand, this is the highest res you’ll be able to get at 2306 x 1296P, transforming your dashcam into 2K definition. It goes beyond the quality, however—this camera captures everything from high-speed incidents to the lettering on a newspaper dispenser 300 feet away. This thing’s got some serious power to it.
Swivel 170 degrees for your preferred view, while reaping the rewards of HDR technology—you get seriously crisp night shots, and a fully-balanced exposure for even viewing and video capture. Light and dark spots will be balanced accordingly in each frame.
You can mount this three ways, but this is where we get into a little bit of the issues with the model. Camera’s great, quality is great, but the mounting appears to be an afterthought. The first mount—the suction cup to the interior of the windshield—is beautiful, works as intended, and so on. They give you two additional sticky mounts to move this around as you please, but they don’t hold well, or for long. Couple that with the charging wire hanging from the dash into the cigarette lighter being an issue; the wire’s too heavy, so it rattles around and runs the risk of coming unplugged.
You do get GPS enablement, capturing your location when you’re on your drive, which is great for accident reconstruction should you need. You can also allow your loved ones to tap into this feature and know where you are if you’re on a long car drive. The continuous loop recording is essential—it rewrites over the old data, ensuring you constantly have a fresh stream of (roughly) four hours of footage on the included 16GB micro SD card. Warranty is for one-year on party only.
2K HD Resolution
Included 16GB micro SD card
- Weight5 ounces
170 degree swivel feature
Continuous loop recording; 16GB gives you hours of playback
Extremely attractive price
Comes with three mounts, but only one of them work well
Plugs into adapter; wire is heavy, you need to nestle it somewhere
3. Rexing V1 Car Dash Cam
Looks like something James Bond would have, eh? It’s discreet, it’s powerful, and it’s got a few kinks we’ll get to in a moment. Rexing crafted this ultra high durability dashcam with discretion in mind. If you get into an auto accident and you’re recording the outrage of an altercation with another individual, you don’t exactly want them to know that you have a dashcam.
Apart from the design and sturdy chassis, you get loop recording for your older videos to be erased, with new videos put in. This one is unique in this regard—you can select five or three-and-a-half minute blocks of time to be recorded instead of a continuous loop. While you can support up to 128GB in an SD card, this model doesn’t come with any standard memory, not even a little 8GB SD card like most of the other models come with.
You do get the addition of a G-sensor, which is essentially the gravity-detecting unit that knows when you’re been in an accident. It keeps the video locked, so you’ll be protected no matter what—that video clip isn’t going anywhere. No chance of being overwritten or anything.
HD recording, thanks to Sony’s Exmor IMX323 imaging, allows you to capture stunning quality, which you definitely need when you’re dealing with various landscapes and lighting changes. We were a bit disappointed to learn that this only records in 30fps (frames per second), because it doesn’t really go with the quality of the cameras. This feature leaves something to be desired, though it will still do its job fine, and it actually allows for more video to be written to your removable storage device. Six-layer lenses and a 170 degree angle gives you crisp quality while giving you optimum recording space.
Discreet design; perfect for those who don’t want to advertise the fact that they have a dashcam
Six-layer lens for optimal recording
- Weight11.2 ounces
Durable as they come
G-Sensor for accident detection
Loop recording in five or three-and-a-half minute increments
Only records up to 30fps; not high-speed at all
Supports up to 128GB SD cards, doesn’t include any memory, you have to buy that separately
4. Garmin Dashcam
Garmin makes killer electronics, and they stepped into the car space with this excellent dashcam model. Like any Garmin product, there are a few kinks, but the high-performance and unique features are bound to impress. This is the first dashcam we’ve seen to include voice commands—tell it to start or stop recording, take a picture, or begin and end the travelapse photo capture feature. It’s all up to you.
You get a magnetic mount for this ultra small camera, giving you full discretion and a unique way to grab and go. 3.7 megapixel stills rival the quality of your phone, while the forward collision and lane departure warnings keep you stable when you’re on the road. It may be enough to help you realize you’re tired, pull over, and avoid an accident altogether.
GPS-enabled and boasting excellent performance in adverse lighting situations are both fantastic features, but there are a few bugs. If you hit certain altitudes or elevated temperatures, the software would shut down. Even after the fix, a few users have reported the same issue. In total, you get good quality, great features, and a grab-and-go camera that’s going to capture it all.
3.7 Megapixel camera
Voice control for certain features
- Weight2.08 ounces
High-performance in low light
Magnetic attachment for mounting
Not the best video quality for the price
Slight software issues for different climates
5. Vantrue N2 Pro
Thorough folk and filmmakers alike are going to fall head over heels for this model. Record your windshield activity and your cabin, mounted perfectly to also record what goes on in the rear windshield. This is essential if you’re the victim of a rear-ender fender bender and you need some concrete evidence.
We can’t say enough good things about this camera—for one, you get 2.5K quality, while your front and rear lens sit at 170 degrees and 140 degrees, respectively. Plug it into the cigarette lighter, and you’re good to go. The odd placement of this, while convenient, means the cable dangles a little bit and has been known to be knocked out. Use with caution.
Night vision with a Sony sensor ensures you’ll be getting clear quality picture while also utilizing the four interior IR LED lights. Everything on the interior will be visible. Even in the dead of night, the excellent quality will capture license plate information clearly, thanks to light and dark balance.
Parking mode and a killer G-sensor add safety and accountability to the at-fault party, while the timelapse feature is certain to get the attention of amateur filmmakers and vloggers alike. Good for -4F up to 158F, optional GPS.
Night vision mode
- ModelN2 Pro
- Weight3.52 ounces
Dual capture; windshield and cabin
Timelapse feature; collide weeks of road trips into epic video
Loose fit on the cigarette lighter adapter
Uses up memory fast; needs 64GB for 4-5 hours of recording
6. OldShark 3” Dashcam
There’s a few seriously epic features about this—we were shocked at how inexpensive it was. Between the superior suction cup mount and quality built of the zinc alloy chassis, you get stability on and off the road. Flip this into night vision to continue your ventures, just know that higher res quality recordings really eat up memory. They give you a 32GB SD card included in this model, so be certain to utilize that.
170 degree angle lens allows for a wide range of recording, while the accident lock/emergency mode secures your video from being overwritten when an accident occurs. Playback is a sinch to view on the 3.0” LCD screen, and for once, we’re actually happy with the way the adapter wire hangs down.
You get an 18-month warranty, lifetime customer service, and 45 days to choose if you want it, or your money back. You get a lot of standard features with this camera, but if you’re hunting down an insurance premium reduction, going with this model is an inexpensive and simple way to go about it.
1080P HD Quality
- BrandOld Shark
- Weight4.3 ounces
Killer price for the quality
Most durable suction cup attachment of any unit
Emergency accident lock filtered by G-sensor
Seriously eats up memory quickly
Very conspicuous model
7. 2-Edge 2K Dashcam
The better the quality, the easier it is to make out license plates and your surroundings in the playback. The 2-Edge doesn’t hold anything back—parking mode, 2K quality, and a G-sensor that gets the job done. Mount this simply, and let the quality video flow in. This unit runs out of space fast on the 32GB SD card, so an upgraded storage space may be in order.
The 2-Edge is your essential witness to any auto accident or vandalism. Color CMOS image sensors are specifically designed to make license plates clear and easy to read, while the 3.0” LCD screen is scratch resistant and powered via USB cable to your adapter, though it can run just off the battery without needing a constant power supply.
If you’re not happy, you have a month to get your cash back, and an 18 month warranty for parts and hardware. Supports up to 64GB maximum, and the built-in G-sensor works like a charm to lock your videos down when you get into an accident or collision.
- Weight2.24 ounces
Excellent wide angle lens
Parking mode motion activation
Runs out of space fast
Heavy on the mount
8. YI 2.7” HD Dashcam
Budgeters, you can breathe now—this handy little model comes with a lot of the rivaled features of its more expensive counterparts. Enhanced G-sensor allows you to lockout your videos and keep them from being overwritten, while the 165 wide angle captures just about everything that’s going on.
The 2.7” LCD screen gives you a good look into what’s going on around you, while the dashcam app helps with everything else. While the night vision mode is there, the color balance can take a few extra seconds, giving you glares and issues with streetlights. HD video capture supports up to 64GB SD memory, although this unit doesn’t come with a standard card like we see with most. You have to buy all of your removeable memory separately.
Realtime lane departure detection and the ADAS give insight as to the at-fault party, so your dashcam can do all the work of a quality witness in just about any situation. The chassis is a bit flimsy, so once you mount is, try to leave it be. This model is more likely to get wrecked in a serious accident than others on our list, but for this price, you’ll still get insurance premium deductions (check with your insurance company first) and reap the rewards of more cash in your pocket every month. This could pay for itself in one summer.
Dashcam app from YI
Emergency video lockout
- Weight11 ounces
Most inexpensive model on our list
60fps of recording
Fragile chassis; be careful
Color balance in night vision mode can be a bit dodgy
9. Fliiners Mini LCD Dash Cam
A hare’s breath above the cost of #8 on our list, the Fliiners mini LCD dashcam gives you excellent mounting capabilities, while including all the major features that you’re looking for in a dashcam.
Night vision mode gives you a surprisingly fantastic color balance for such an inexpensive model, while the loop feature continuously overrides old data to keep you mindlessly recording with no worries to be had. The LCD screen takes some squinting to look at, but it’s all part of the low cost of this model. If you’re looking to reduce insurance premiums, this is the way to go.
You get full HD 1080p recording, however, this unit only supports up to 32GB SD memory. It doesn’t come with a standard card, so you’ll need to purchase removable memory separately. We do have to applaud their warranty information and customer support here—24-hour support via email, a year on quality-related issues, and a month to send it back for a full refund if you wish.
The features you want, the hassle-free mounting you need, and the ability to keep most of your green in your wallet. What else could you ask for?
Inconspicuous due to size
- Weight8.8 ounces
Full HD quality without compromising
Very low cost
Chassis is thin and flimsy; mount it and leave it alone
Navigating the settings on this can be a pain
Dash Cam Buying Guide & FAQ
Electronics of any nature require an in-depth approach to how they work, what they’re used for, their durability—basically, anything and everything you could think of. We’ve done all the legwork for you; read on, and make an educated decision based on the products we’ve provided, and you can’t go wrong.
How do Dash Cams Work?
Basically, their main function is to provide you with visual feedback on your auto adventures. You’re going to hear a lot of arguments like, “Just get a mount for your phone and use that.” There’s a bunch of reasons why they’re not the same thing, including:
- Dash cams are designed for faster movements; your iPhone isn’t
- Your phone mount won’t necessarily hold; dash cams have specific mounting protocol
- Dash cam power sources are sturdier than standard lightning or micro USB charging; you don’t want your phone to die when you need footage the most
Apart from that, they provide greater detail to get information such as license plate data and allow people’s profiles to show up better. All things that you need with a dash cam. Now, for how they work, it’s rather quite simple:
Plug in your dash cam and position it using its specific mount, and you’re done. They capture high-speed visuals and decent level audios. Dash cams are either plugged-in through a USB into the cigarette lighter (sturdier than phone wires) or they’re hardwired into your electrical system. This can be done yourself, or you can hire a professional to handle it for you.
They operate just like a standard video camera. They record information, storage fills up, and you eject the SD card when you need it. Which brings us to our next topic: what are you doing to do when your dash cam’s virtual memory fills up?
Don’t worry; creators have already thought of that problem way ahead of time. While you’re mostly going to see this in built-in models, your dash cam comes with a feature that rewrites old data. If you can get three hours of recorded footage, it will start rewriting that first minute, moving forward and so on. Either way, you’ll have X amount of previous footage to reflect on. If you need that footage ASAP, such as after getting into an accident, just pop out the SD card, put it somewhere safe, and put the alternate SD card in.
Do I Need a Dash Cam?
They’re quickly becoming a necessity among drivers. Doesn’t matter if you have a compact car or a rig—they’re invaluable when the SHTF. There are zero instances where you’ll stop and say, “Damn, I have a dash cam,” and a hundred occasions where you’ll think, “Thank God I bought that dash cam.”
They’re exceptionally good for:
- Recording information for playback regarding pedestrian incidents
- Car accidents to decide who’s at-fault
- Police interactions (we’re all a little sketched-out by them)
- Spotting random crimes
- Gathering footage for the amateur filmmaker
There are a bunch more reasons, including keeping you alert as a driver. When you have that constant reminder that your actions behind the wheel are also being recorded, you’re more likely to remember to follow the rules of the road.
Features to Look For When Buying a Dash Cam
Resolution – While this one may seem obvious, people actually overlook this quite a bit. Resolution isn’t just about having a prettier picture—you need to be able to make out details on license plates, facial profiles, and your general surroundings to better determine what happened, no matter what your needs are for playback. When we’re in the car, the camera sometimes has to see pretty far in front of us, whereas when we use a phone or video camera, our target is generally pretty close to us.
Night Vision – This is by no means a “small feature.” Accidents happen more frequently during the day on average, but 54% of all car accidents that do occur at night, are alcohol-related. You can picture it now—messy, messy crashes and a lot to look at. A dash cam without night vision is essentially useless; it’s like having weekend insurance (is that still a thing?)—it’s just not a good idea to go without it.
Wiring – Bit of a car guru? Following the car bible? Depending on how comfortable you are with the electrical components to your vehicle, this decision will be impacted. You have two basic options: hardwired, or charger wired (USB into the car lighter adapter/USB slot in the dash). If you’re comfortable with wiring or you know a professional that won’t rip you off, hardwired is a better option, in our humble opinions. No fear of coming unplugged, and they generally come with rewritable data for continuous video capture.
Warranty – This is essentially on parts and rarely on anything else, so don’t expect to have the warranty put into place if you get into a wreck and the camera gets totaled. However, when electrical parts fail you, having at least a one-year warranty on your dashcam (most come with one year of standard warranty coverage) can be a real saving grace when you need it.
Will My Dashcam Record Inside my Car?
9/10 dashcam models are mounted to your windshield (on the interior) with the focus looking outside of your car. Imagine that your windshield was a camera, and you were always looking through the lens. Reversal dashcam models are usually for vloggers and filmmakers. Either way, the presence of a dashcam helps improve your driving.
Is a GPS Function Important?
Your GPS tracking is able to look at where you are, where you were, and what happened following an accident. It uses Google Maps (most models) to track your location as you drive, allowing you to pinpoint the exact location of a car accident or event on the map. This isn’t a crucial feature, but it is a convenient one for the models that do possess it.
Can a Dashcam Be Used to Incriminate Me?
Short answer: yes. If you possess a dashcam, that information could be used against you. Even based on front-facing video only, your dashcam shows enough information to be damning. One perk of this is that you’re a lot more responsible behind the wheel, which can help avoid accidents altogether.
How do Dash Cams Help Reduce Insurance Premiums?
Some insurances can offer up to 12.5% of a discount on your insurance premiums. If you’re a new driver or you’re under twenty-five-years-old, your insurance usually starts off pretty damn high. 12.5% can be a real lifesaver when it comes time to pay the tab.
Since your dashcam can usually determine who was at-fault during an accident, it could help you keep discounts for “No Accident” or whatever your current car insurance calls it. Furthermore, it’s able to settle a claim a hell of a lot faster. You get your money, you fix your car, and you’re on your merry way—sealed and over with.
Our good friends at carinsurance.com has a nifty database of no-fault and at-fault states in America, allowing you to prioritize having a dashcam based on your state jurisdiction.
- How do Dash Cameras Work?, Lifewire official website
- 7 Reasons to Use a Dashboard Camera, Insurance.com official website
- Most Dangerous Times to Drive, Forbes
- Dashcam Discount, swiftcover.com
- No-fault States: Which States are No-fault and What Does it Mean?, Carinsurance.com