When it comes to protecting your interests – whether it’s to help you get out of a ticket, prove your innocence in a car accident, or prevent insurance fraud – a picture is worth a thousand words. Or, in this case, a video. Basically, if you own a vehicle, you’re going to need a dash cam. Of course, not all dash cams are created equal. There are a lot of options in the market with a variety of features. What will work best for you will depend on what you plan on using the dash cam for? Since sorting through the various products can become quite overwhelming, we’ve decided to help you out. After hours of research and testing, we’ve compiled a list of the best dash cams for most drivers.
Top 10 Dash Cams Of 2018 Reviewed
1. Rexing V1 Car Dash CamBest Dash Cam Without Gps
The Rexing V1 Car Dash Cam is just a basic dash cam but it’s not one of the cheapest on our list. Why then is it number 1? Well, it’s because it does have a lot of the features that the average everyday commuter would want to have and performs pretty great too. It has a very low profile which means it won’t draw undue attention. Plus, it won’t be blocking your It comes with a 170-degree wide angle lens and full HD video (1080p at 30fps) with its Sony IMX323 image sensor.
The dash cam features a G-sensor which means it’ll save any recording if it detects a collision. And it can operate even in extreme temperature conditions. However, the adhesive doesn’t hold up very well in very hot weather so you might want to keep a stock of adhesives handy or just buy the suction mount. The memory card is not included. And the video isn’t as good in low-light conditions.
- 170-degree wide angle
- 1080p at 30fps
- Low profile design
- Adhesive doesn’t hold up well in hot weather
- Memory card not included
- Not so good in low-light conditions
2. KDLINKS X1 Dash CamBest Dash Cam At Night
The X1 Dash Cam is another crowd-favorite but with a higher price tag. However, it does come with full HD video 920*1080 at 30 fps, a large 2.7-inch screen, a 165-degree angle, and a Wide Dynamic Range system. The WDR system provides superior night vision so you never have to worry about driving around at night. The built-in GPS module records the GPS data right into the video feed.
And you can even check the location, speed, and route of the vehicle on Google Maps using the software included with the dash cam. What we do love is that this already comes with an 8GB micro SD card so you can use it right out of the box. And the camera swivels so you can adjust the angle it records if necessary. However, the suction cup doesn’t work as well as we’d like; you may experience the dash cam falling a few times. Also, having to reset the date & time every time you don’t use the dash cam for a couple of days.
- Decent night vision
- Built-in GPS module
- Comes with its own memory card
- Suction cup could be better
- A bit pricey
- Frequent resetting of date & time
3. YI Smart Dash CameraBest Dash Cam With Lane Departure Warning
The Y1 Dash Cam also features a 165-degree field of view which allows you to record 3 lanes. It also has G-sensor technology, automatically saving any footage that it records if it detects a collision. It has HD video and decent night vision with 1920x1080p at 60fps. It has a 16:9 large LCD screen (2.7 inches wide) and intuitive controls. All good things, especially at this price point.
But that’s not even the highlight. This little baby comes with an ADAS – Advanced Driver Assistance System. What that means is that the dashcam has the technology to “sense” if you are departing from your lane or getting too close to the vehicle in front of you. These are safety features that would make this dash cam an ideal purchase for new drivers, particularly teen ones.
Plus, this comes with built-in WiFi that allows you to share video footage from the dash camera using the app. However, it doesn’t seem to capture license plates well even in daylight. The dash cam doesn’t have a low profile design. And this does not come with a memory card.
- Intuitive controls
- Built-in WiFi
- Can’t capture license plates
- Not low profile
- No memory card included
4. Z-Edge Z3Best Dash Cam Money Can Buy
The Z-Edge Z3 features a 150-degree field of view and 2560x1080p Super HD resolution at 30fps. With its OV4689 Color CMOS Image Sensor and HDR night capture, you’re never going to miss a license plate ever again, even in low-light conditions. Aside from its excellent video capabilities, this dash cam comes with a parking mode. It has a motion detector which automatically starts recording when the camera senses movement and pauses when no motion is detected.
This feature is powered by the built-in battery. The device is easy enough to install and even comes with its own 32GB memory card as well as clips to help make the unsightly wire disappear from view. However, it is not easy to remove once installed which means you may have to leave it mounted at night. And the screw that attaches the dash cam to the mount is hard to tighten which means the camera’s position can move, causing the angle of the camera to change. Plus, the dash cam does not have a low profile which may block your view.
- Comes with 32GB memory card
- Parking mode
- Excellent video quality
- Not easy to detach or unmount
- Hard to tighten the screw
- Not low profile
5. Roav Dash Cam C1Best Dash Cam With Motion Detection
The Roav DashCam C1 has a lot of the features that we love in a dash cam. It uses an advanced Sony Exmor CMOS sensor, a wide angle lens, Wide Dynamic Range technology, and 1080p resolution. All of these combined ensures that you capture everything that happens in front of you (as much as 4 lanes in traffic) in great detail, even under low-light conditions.
It features a motion-activated gravity sensor which automatically starts recording when the car is bumped or moved, even when turned off. It has extreme temperature resistance, up to 149℉. And it has built-in WiFi which makes it easy for you to share footage using the Roav app.
It also has a very slim profile which means you can install it behind your rearview mirror and not have anything obstructing your view. For the price, this is a really good dash cam for the average commuter. However, the controls aren’t intuitive and it can be hard to navigate the settings when the dash cam is mounted. The manual isn’t all that clear either. And you can’t angle the camera from side to side, just up and down.
- Motion-activated gravity sensor
- Wide field of view
- Slim profile
- Controls are not intuitive
- Hard to adjust camera when mounted
- Can’t swivel the camera from side to side
6. Vantrue OnDash N2 Pro
The Vantrue OnDash N2 Pro is a dual dash cam which records the front of the vehicle and the interior, making it an ideal choice for drivers of rideshare programs like Uber. The image sensors, the advanced Sony Exmor IMX323 sensor, and the OV4689, provide crystal clear images. The field of view in front is 170 degrees while the rear camera provides a 140-degree view.
The dual camera produces 1920x1080p video at 30fps, The HDR system along with the 4 IR lights and the F2.0 lens of the rear camera enables the camera to capture clear details even at night. This dash cam even comes with a parking monitor. And in case you need it, the built-in microphone and speaker will capture all the audio in the car. However, this doesn’t come with a micro SD card.
The mechanism that attaches the camera to the mount loosens up quickly which causes the camera to move around, losing the desired angle. And if you want to use the parking mode, you’ll need to buy the hardware kit which costs an extra $13 or get an external battery which also costs more money.
- Built-in microphone and speaker
- The rear camera comes with IR lights
- Wide field of view both indoors and outside the vehicle
- Ball joint mechanism in mount loosens up fairly quickly
- No micro SD card included
- Hardwire kit costs extra
7. ITrue X3 Dash Cam
The iTrue X3 Dash Cam has a lot of the features of our other single lens dash cam picks. It features a super wide 170-degree angle with full HD video 1920×1080 at 30 fps. It also features 6-layer glass lenses and WDR technology for night vision. It automatically starts recording when you start up your car and stops when you turn off the ignition. It has motion detection and audio recording. What we like about this particular dash cam is more on looks than performance since it pretty much does what the others do.
This device has a front surface that features a simulated stitched leather-style which is really cool to look at than the usual plastic case you’d get with most other dash cams. Plus, it can rotate 360 degrees which is something that not all of our picks can do. However, it is hard to see the screen when the unit is mounted and the glare of the sunlight is in your eye. The manual isn’t helpful at all. And because of the wide FOV, the clarity of certain details when in motion isn’t as good as we’d like. In short, it can’t catch license plates when the car is moving fast.
- Cool leather-style design
- Can rotate 360 degrees
- Audio recording included
- Does not capture all the details when the object is in motion
- Manual is poorly written
- Hard to see the screen when mounted during the day
8. Mobius Action CameraBest Dash Cam Without Screen
The Mobius Action Camera isn’t your average dash cam. You may have already noticed that it doesn’t come with a display. That’s because this is a portable camera that can be used to record more than just your driving adventures. You can use it to record the view as you’re skiing down a mountain or riding your mountain bike. It records 1080p at 30fps, 720p at 60fps, and 720p at 30fps.
It features loop recording. And even has a photo capture mode. Because there’s no screen, this unit can run on battery alone for a good 2 hours and is incredibly lightweight, perfect if you’re a person who’s always using rentals. The image quality is very good, just like a GoPro. The night vision isn’t all that good and initial setup isn’t easy for the not-so-tech-savvy. Plus, the controls on the camera aren’t intuitive (some of the buttons aren’t actually buttons but heat sinks).
- Multipurpose camera
- Very portable
- Photo capture mode
- Not easy to set up
- Controls aren’t intuitive
- Night vision footage is a bit grainy
9. Ausdom AD282 Dash Cam
The Ausdom AD282 Dash Cam is a windshield dash cam that may not be to everyone’s liking because it doesn’t have a low profile. That being said, there’s a lot to love about this model. It comes with a built-in 16GB SD card but can be expanded up to 64GB. The full HD videos (2304x1296p) are clear and bright because of the 7-Glens, the HDR visual function, WDR technology.
The gravity sensor detects collisions and automatically starts charging. You can also set this cam to function in parking mode to detect movement or vibrations and automatically start recording. Setting up the unit is easy and the controls are fairly intuitive. However, the G-sensor is a bit too sensitive, considering bumps in the road as collisions. The suction cup doesn’t stay in place all the time. And there is no playback option.
- Easy setup
- Includes 16GB memory card
- Good video quality
- No playback option
- G-sensor is too sensitive
- Suction mount doesn’t always stay in place
10. Accfly Mini Dash Cam
If you’re really in a tight budget but would like some peace of mind while driving your car, then the Accfly Mini Dash Cam is your best bet. For less than $30 (on sale at the time of posting), you get a small camera that offers two video resolution settings: 1920x1080p and 1280x720p. It has an automatic on/off feature that coincides with starting the car and turning it off.
It comes with a built-in speaker and microphone. And it even supports several languages. Because the unit is so small, you can easily mount it behind the rearview mirror without anything obstructing your view. One particular highlight of this model is that it has a one-key lock function; just press the ‘mode’ button to automatically lock the image on the screen and save it. However, the instructions aren’t clear. The 120-degree FOV is too narrow in our opinion; it doesn’t let you see what’s happening from the sides.
- Very budget-friendly
- Low profile design
- One-key lock function
- 120-degree FOV is too narrow
- Instructions are poorly written
Dash Cam Buying Guide
Accidents are often cases of ‘he said, she said.’ Each driver is bound to have a memory of the accident that directly conflicts with the other’s recollection. Eyewitnesses aren’t so reliable either, even the impartial ones. Which is why a dash cam is such a smart investment. Of course, that’s not the only reason for having a dash cam. It can help protect you from insurance fraud.
It can even help you monitor your teen’s driving and/or catch any acts of stupidity that occurs on the road (or inside the car). It can even record any exciting, weird, or rare sightings that you may come across while driving. There are many reasons for investing in a dash cam which is why there are also a variety of models to choose from.
Because there isn’t going to be one best dash cam for all situations, choosing one that is perfect for you can become complicated. This buying guide should help you learn more about the different designs and features of dash cams to help you get a better idea of what best fits your needs and specific situation.
Types of Dash Cams
Dash cams come in different designs to enable them to work better in a particular situation. Knowing the types of designs available will enable you to see which ones fit your needs and situation best.
Single Lens Dash Cam
Like a regular camcorder or smartphone, this type of dash cam is made up of one camera that is typically mounted on the windshield or the mirror. Some dash cams can be mounted on a dashboard. The main purpose of this type of dash cam is to record whatever is happening in front of the vehicle. Take note that a windshield-mounted dash cam can partially block your view and are illegal in some states. If that’s the case with you, you can opt for a rear view mirror-mounted dash cam.
Multiple-lens Dash Cam
As the name suggests, this type of dash cam features multiple cameras that will enable you to record different angles or views. You can have one camera facing the front while another is facing the rear, which is ideal if you want to record what’s going on inside the car. For example, parents of new, inexperienced teen drivers as well as drivers of rideshare programs may want dual-lens dash cams which records the outside as well as the inside of the car.
Some multiple-lens dash cams even feature a 4-camera setup which records the view from the sides of the vehicle aside from the usual front and rear. Take note that multiple cameras will mean a higher price tag and possible mounting issues. Make sure that you will be able to mount a rear or side camera in your vehicle before buying a multiple-lens dash cam.
Some dual lens dash cams will have two separate camera enclosures which mean two separate mounting positions. This is ideal for recording what’s in front of the car and what’s behind it. An added benefit to this is that the rear camera can serve as a backup to the front camera if necessary. Other models like the Vantrue OnDash N2 Pro will feature the two cameras in one housing – one recording the front and one recording the inside of the vehicle.
Dash Cam Features
Once you’ve decided between the two types of dash cams, you’ll need to check out which features are best suited to meet your needs.
Most dash cams are powered by your car’s battery by plugging it into the 12-volt outlet (your car’s cigarette lighter). Some models can be connected directly to the car’s battery. A lot of dash cams would also feature an internal lithium-ion battery which allows the camera to continue recording for a short amount of time while unplugged. However, batteries are susceptible to changes in temperature which is why some manufacturers opt to use capacitors instead. Capacitors are much more reliable in extreme temperature conditions. But using one means that your dash cam will be unable to continue recording when it’s unplugged.
Resolution and Image Sensor
A picture is worth a thousand words… if that picture is clear enough that you can discern a lot of the important details (such as the license plate of the car that just sideswiped you) even when in motion. At the very least, you want the dash cam to record at 1080p like the Rexing V1 Car Dash Cam. The higher the resolution, the better. You’ll also want the image sensors to be able to capture clear details in various lighting and weather conditions. Just keep in mind that the better the image quality, the bigger the file size. And dash cams are limited to the storage space of their memory cards.
Field of View
Field of view refers to how much of the scene the camera can capture. The narrowest FOV is 120 degrees which give you a closer look at what’s right in front of you but you may miss things at the sides. A 180-degree FOV may seem the better option since it captures a much wider scene, perfect if you want to video scenic landscapes and vistas. However, a wider FOV will make things in front of your car look farther away than they actually are. If you want a balance between center details and width, experts recommend the 160-degree FOV.
There are typically two ways you can mount a dash cam – suction and adhesive. Some models will only feature one mounting option while others will allow you to choose. Suction mounts are vulnerable to heat and humidity which can cause the dash cam to fall (when mounted on the windshield). Because of their design, dash cams will tend to hang low from a suction mount which can interfere with your view. However, these are much easier to adjust and aim. They can also be removed quickly if necessary (such as when you’re switching cars or want to park the car overnight on a street).
Adhesive mounts are less likely to fall in extreme temps and due to vibration. They also make the dash cam less visible and take up less space like the Roav Dash Cam C1. However, you will need to place them precisely where you want them since they’re difficult to remove. You may also need to have extra adhesive material on hand if you do end up needing to move the camera placement.
Whichever mounting option you choose, you’ll need to make sure that the dash cam will remain firmly in place. It should not be easily dislodged if someone accidentally nudges it or you hit a rough spot in the street.
You need to choose a dash cam that will be large enough to include a display screen but not too big that it blocks your view or distracts you while you’re driving.
Speaking of the display screen, some models do not include this feature which is not recommended for a number of reasons. No display means you won’t be able to know at a glance if the dash cam is recording as it should. You can’t easily check if the angle is correct without plugging the memory card into a computer or a similar device. And the same goes for adjusting the settings. When choosing the display size, experts recommend at least 2 inches of display to make it easier to look at the footage and adjust settings.
A lot of dash cams like the KDLINKS X1 Dash Cam come with a memory card, typically an 8GB microSD memory card. But that may not be enough space before the cam starts overwriting old recordings, especially if you are using maximum resolution. Fortunately, most models will accept memory cards with larger storage space such as 64GB or 128GB.
This is the impact detector which is an important feature in any dash cam. The G-sensor ensures that the camera detects an impact and will automatically save the footage from being overwritten.
The G-sensor can also be used to detect motion when the car is stationary (i.e. someone rocking the car while parked). However, parking surveillance is limited due to the camera only facing one way. Also, this requires the cam to get persistent power either directly from your car battery or through a dedicated battery pack. The Z-Edge Z3 is a dash cam that offers this feature.
The GPS feature of a dash cam does not give you turn-by-turn directions like your GPS navigator. Instead, it logs the location of the vehicle as well as its speed and direction. This allows you to pinpoint exactly where a specific recording was made such as the location of an accident. While this isn’t a necessary feature for the average consumer, this is perfect if you want to monitor your kid’s driving or an employee’s.
Models with this feature like the Roav Dash Cam C1 enable you to connect the dash cam to your smartphone using an app. The app allows you to review videos, download them, and even share them via social media or email. A handy feature if you need to send copies to the police or insurance company. Some models will even have an additional feature – letting the cam pair up with a device connected to the internet such as your phone. This enables the cam to live stream the video to the cloud and even let you monitor the feed live. Other benefits include location tracking and alert notifications if the car gets into an accident. However, this may incur additional fees, especially if the dash cam is using your cellular data.
This means that the dash cam automatically writes over the oldest files once the memory has reached maximum capacity.
Low-light Capability and Night Vision
You’ll want your camera to be able to pick up visual details even when the light is dim like the ITrue X3 Dash Cam. With this feature, the chances of getting the clear videos you need in dim conditions are higher. This is especially true if your cam has night vision. If you have an interior camera, this is a handy feature to have because it ensures you always get visual information when recording the driver and passengers.
Some dash cams like the YI Smart Dash Camera will give you safety alerts such as forward-collision warnings, much like what you’d see now with newly released cars. Another safety feature you might come across is the lane-departure warnings which beep when you cross a lane marker on the road.