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. Car camera recorders are 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, vehicle cameras are useful gadgets with excellent benefits. Let’s jump into the best dash cam selection of 2019.
The Best 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
Best dash cam for the money
- 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
Kicking off our dash cam review in style, the cream of the crop, the king of the hill and one of the best dash cams on the market —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 best dash cam, 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
Top rated dash cam
- 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
The Rove R2-4K dashboard camera offers excellent value for money. Sure, it’s not the cheapest around, but it’s packed with features that are typically found only in high-end cams. With 4K ultra HD recording and 150° wide-angle lens, the R2-4K model captures most of the road around you and produces crisp clear footage (216p resolution!). Thanks to its Super Night Vision technology, it also provides great video and image quality in low light conditions.
The camera comes with built-in Wi-Fi so you can use Rove’s app to view and control your dash recordings via your phone (both Android and iOS are supported). This also allows you to download 4K videos to your smartphone and share them with whomever you like. There’s also a built-in GPS which records your driving location and speed – super useful if your kid is driving the car.
Excellent night vision
WiFi and GPS
Numerous useful features, including G sensor, parking mode, motion detection, loop recording and other
- Weight3.2 ounces
Fantastic value for money
Comes with many helpful features
Connects to a smartphone, allows video downloading
Durable, with intuitive design
To keep the cam in the right position, the set screws need to be tightened now and then
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
Best discreet dash cam
- 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
The Apeman C860 comes with a front and rear camera which will help keep you and your vehicle as safe as possible. Both cameras have 1080p dual lens that monitor the road ahead and behind you with clear video definition. The front camera records in 1440P, however, this is only possible when it works by itself – if both rear and front cams are used simultaneously, then 1080p resolution is automatic. This is still very good, as the definition is crisp clear. Night vision is also great as the camera automatically adjusts exposure in low light conditions, capturing even the smaller details easily.
The C860 has the ability to take up to 12 mp images and also record audio inside the vehicle. There’s also the mute function in video mode if you don’t want to hear what was said at the time of recording. More importantly though, there is a built-in G sensor, which detects the sudden vibrations around the car, locking the collision footage that you can use as proof for preventing disputes in emergencies.
Front cam 1140p, rear cam 1080p
Clear night vision
Can take 12 mp images and record audio
Built-in G sensor, motion detection, loop recording, wide dynamic range
- Weight1 pound
Solid video quality on both cams
Various useful features, including the emergency accident lock
Easy to install
No parking monitoring
The suction cup could be sturdier
The Crosstour CR900 is a reliable, capable dual dash camera that is more than reasonably priced. It’s small and compact, so doesn’t take up much space, yet it has a nice and clear 3” screen which you can use to view videos on the go. Video quality is good as the cam records in 1080p – this goes for both the front and the rear one. As for night vision, while the not the best you can find, the footage quality is solid, showing license plate numbers even in low light.
The CR900 model features Novatek Chip Car Camera as its CPU, which determines the basic performance of a recorder, including frame, resolution, etc. Both cams adopt F1.8 aperture and high dynamic range (HDR), which is great news. And with dual 170° wide-angle, both cameras provide comprehensive vision, covering up to six lanes.
1080p, front and rear camera
Uses Novatek chip
Emergency locking sensor (G sensor) and optional GPS
Solid night vision
- Weight1.3 pounds
Solid video quality on both cams
Compact, with intuitive design
Wide lens on both cameras, with front lens being able to swivel up and down
Night vision gets quite a bit of glare
Comes with only basic features
Thorough folk and filmmakers alike are going to fall head over heels for this model. A contender for the best front and rear dash cam, this device allows you to 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
Best dual dash cam with parking 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
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. One of the top picks in our dash camera reviews.
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
If you’re looking for an affordable but reliable dash camera, check out Apeman’s C420 model. Similar to their C860 model, only smaller and cheaper, the C420 camera can be perfectly hidden behind a rear mirror. It produces 1080p recordings, which is pretty solid overall, including the night vision. High-definition and a wide-angle camera of 170° is what allows both day and night footage quality to be good.
Despite its low price, this dash cam comes with various useful features, including emergency accident lock and motion detection. The built-in G sensor tech automatically locks the footage in the emergency events, preventing deletion and tampering. There is also 24 hours parking monitoring for protection, and loop recording which ensures the SD card is never filled up and you’re always able to record the latest footage.
Bulit-in G sensor and emergency accident lock
Loop recording and 24 hours parking monitoring
Solid night vision
- Weight11 ounces
Comes with several useful features
Compact and lightweight, can be hidden behind a rear mirror
The cam case feels a little cheap
The instructions could be clearer
The Toguard CE35 is a 7-inch touch-screen mirror dashboard camera that can help double your safety with simultaneous recording in front and backup cameras. The device records in 1080p resolution, producing solid, clear footage no matter the light conditions. The display for video recording, photo taking, playback and general settings are on the mirror itself, which makes the whole adjustment process convenient and easy.
The CE35 model comes with a number of features, including the reversing camera kit for safe parking, and G sensor or emergency recording, and loop recording which will help keep you safe at all times. There is also the parking monitor feature and motion detection, which further add to the security of your vehicle.
Front cam 1080p, rear cam 480p
7” touch screen on the mirror
G-sensor and loop recording
Parking monitor and motion detection
- Weight1.85 pounds
Good quality front footage
Simple installation and intuitive design
Low quality footage on the rear cam
The G-sensor is a little too sensitive
One of the more expensive dash cams on our list, the OwlCam comes with a host of interesting and above all useful features. Most dash cams constantly record in case there is an accident, but they have basic and rather simplistic features. Owlcam is different – not only does this device record inside and outside with great resolution (1440p out, 720p inside), it alerts you via your phone when it senses motion, impact and broken glass. It also allows for live viewing no matter where you’re at.
The camera offers maximum security thanks to its two crash features. One: when an accident is detected, the video is immediately sent to the driver’s phone, serving as evidence that can be shared with police and insurance companies; Two: a live agent then calls the driver through the cam to see if help is needed. These features make the Owlcam one of the safest cameras on the market, hands down. But that’s not all, of course – the model also deters thieves by flashing green light and then bright LED floodlights that let them know they’re being recorded.
Outside cam 1440p, inside cam 720p
Motion detection, crash assistance
Guard mode (anti-theft beacon and floodlights)
AI alerts and notifications, live view and ability to connect multiple Owlcams
GPS car finder, 2-way talk
Great night vision
- BrandOwl Cameras, Inc.
- Model725-100 (USB-C Version)
- Weight2.15 pounds
Superior protection system
A number of useful and security features
Records both outside and inside
Easy to install
Limited Android compatibility
Budgeters, you can breathe now—this handy little model comes with a lot of the rivaled features of its more expensive counterparts and is probably one of the best dash cams for those looking for a cheap option. 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
Best budget dash cam
- 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
If you’re after a cheap but reliable dash cam, the Crosstour CR300 is a fantastic option. With170° wide-angle lens, 1080p HD video resolution and 12 mp image resolution, this camera produces great quality footage and images, plus allows a large viewing angle (4 lanes). Thanks to big aperture and wide dynamic range, the night vision is also good, showing smaller details like license plates with no issues.
The CR300 model comes with a built-in G sensor, which means it automatically detects sudden shakes and collisions, locking the footage to prevent it from being tampered with or deleted. Despite its low price, the camera boasts many great features, including loop recording, motion detection, time stamp, screen saver and others. It also comes with a micro USB cable, car charger and easy to understand user manual.
Built-in G sensor, motion sensor and loop recording
On/off audio, time stamp, screen saver and other features
- Weight8.2 ounces
Affordable and easy to use
Produces solid video quality
Simple installation, secure suction
The cam case feels a little cheap
Night vision could be clearer
Durable, classy-looking, easy to use, with crisp clear footage, the Z-Edge T4 dash cam checks (almost) all boxes. This model comes with a 4-inch touch-sensitive screen with intuitive design and a 1080p rear camera. The front one? Even better – with a 2560x1440p video resolution and a 155-degree viewing angle, the camera captures most of the round around you. Thanks to the WDR technology, the night vision is almost equally good, so the dash cam captures even the smaller details in low light conditions (car license plates are always very clear).
Z-Edge T4 comes with a G sensor, which monitors and detects unusual shakes and vibrations, triggering the emergency video protection in case of an accident that cannot be overwritten. Loop recording allows for seamless overwriting of oldest footage upon filling a card to its max (up to 256 GB card). There is also parking monitor feature which is powered by the internal rechargeable battery.
Front cam 1440p, rear cam 1080 p
WDR tech, excellent night vision
G-sensor, loop recording, parking monitor
Supports up to 256 GG cards, comes with a 32 GB card
- Weight1.4 pounds
Durable and reliable dash cam
Excellent day and night video quality
32 GB card is included
Too long rear cam cord
Best 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. To find the best dash cam, 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 a 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 the things that you need with a dash cam. Now, for how they work, it’s rather quite simple:
Plug in your dash cam camera 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 the Best 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.
Best Dash Cam FAQ:
Q: Will My Dash Cam Record Inside my Car?
A: 9/10 dash cam 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.
Q: Is a GPS Function Important when Buying the Best Dashcam?
A: 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.
Q: Can a Dash Cam Be Used to Incriminate Me?
A: 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.
Q: How do Dash Cams Help Reduce Insurance Premiums?
A: 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 car dash camera 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.
Our Top Pick
While all dash cams on our Top List are excellent, reliable products, the Rexing V1 Car Dash Cam takes the crown. Why is that, you ask? For one, this camera is incredibly durable, guaranteed to last for several years. It also comes packed with great features, including parking monitor, loop recording, G-sensor, motion detection, WiFi connection and other. But what sets this model apart from all others is its ability to withstand extreme temperatures (-20 to 176°F) for long periods of time – and this is exactly what allows it to be so long-lasting and reliable. The REX-V1 model supports memory cards up to 256 GB, which is quite a lot, especially when compared to 32 GB models. All in all, one of the best dash cams on the market, hands down.
More Automotive Reviews
- 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
- No-fault States: Which States are No-fault and What Does it Mean? - Carinsurance