Cameras on your dashboard used to be an option that was only available to law enforcement officers, but today anyone can install one in their vehicle.
There are several reasons to do it. Having footage of an accident or hazardous driving can make it easy to file a claim with your insurance or prove your innocence if you’re involved in a crash.
You might also capture some amazing footage during a road trip that could make you YouTube famous by creating a viral video.
Whether you drive for a living or are just an average road warrior, you never know when footage you capture with your onboard camera will be helpful, and potentially save you time, money, and a headache.
There are loads of options out there that range in price from under $50 to several hundred dollars, and we’ve combed through them all to compile this guide of the top seven best dash cams for every situation.
We’ll give you a list of the features and functions of each, and some buying tips on which one might be best suited for your needs. Finally, we’ll make recommendations and point out a few details that will make it easy to choose one of the top contenders from our list for your vehicle.
How We Chose Our Ratings
There is a plethora of different features and functionality available in onboard camera systems which can make it tricky to decide which is best for you.
We started by gathering a list of top brands and well-reviewed models that received high ratings from users and technology gurus alike. We then narrowed down the choices to include options that covered many different price points but that still used reliable technology.
Finally, we looked for models with additional features like lenses that offer both front and rear coverage, HD recording capabilities, built-in WiFi, or night vision modes to ensure that our top choices will work for every driving situation.
What we’ve come up with is a list of the best performing cameras for sale today that deliver excellent performance, customer service, and value for the money.
Top 7 Best Dash Cams
Here’s a list of our top seven picks for best dash cams at every budget.
This front and rear dual recording camera from Denicer gives you a 170-degree angle of high-definition coverage. The front camera records at 1080p/30fps, and the rear view features a waterproof design.
Users love this model because you can see your front and rear cameras simultaneously, and it’s equipped with WDR technology. This means that the exposure will automatically adjust based on lighting conditions, and you’ll be able to see details clearly in low-light or dark environments.
This model is also equipped with a parking monitor and G-sensor which detects when there’s something unusual happening around your car, even when you’re not driving it. For example, if you’re parked in a lot or your driveway overnight, the camera will notice if someone tries to tamper with your vehicle, or if you’re the victim of a hit and run.
All of the files picked up by the sensor that could be suspect are saved and not erased and recorded over in the ongoing loop recording.
This Dencier option is suction-cup mounted, which makes it easy to install anywhere in your vehicle. It comes with both the mount and a USB car charger. You’ll also get a 12-month warranty.
Note that it does not come with a micro SD card that you’ll need to record and store your footage, and you’ll need to purchase one that’s a maximum of 32 GB separately.
This model retails for $60, which puts it at the low to mid-point of the price spectrum for an onboard camera.
Not everyone needs a dual dash cam that provides you with video coverage from both the front and back of your vehicle, but if you drive for a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft, or need more surveillance on your car, this is one of the best dash cams that money can buy.
These high-definition cameras capture 170-degrees from your front windshield, and 140-degrees from the back of the cabin to record your passengers using the advanced Sony Exmor IMX323 sensor technology.
If you choose to use just the front camera, you can enhance your picture further and get up to 2560x1440p at 30 fps thanks to the high-end Novatek NT96660 CPU. This means you’ll be able to see license plates and details crystal clear in all light conditions.
Further enhancing picture clarity are four infrared LED lights that will show you details even when the cabin is dark, and the camera lens uses a unique technology that will automatically balance out exposure and show you both light and dark areas in the video.
This Vantrue model has loop recording and can support up to a 256G micro SD card, giving you the largest amount of memory of all of the dash cams reviewed in this guide. It also includes G-Sensor technology and will capture and keep any collision or shake footage permanently in an event file that will not be overwritten by the loop.
There is also a motion-activated parking mode that automatically begins recording any time there is movement in front of the vehicle, as well as a built-in microphone that can capture audio from inside the cabin.
You can also optionally use the GPS function to track the route you’re driving, which could be helpful if you need to pinpoint the exact date, time, and location of an incident.
The manufacturer offers both a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee and an 18-month warranty on this product.
With all the functionality of this model comes a large price tag. It retails for just under $$$
Star Rating: 4.9
This discreet recording device by Rexing has an ultra low-profile design which makes it easy to hide on your dashboard or windshield, but it still delivering excellent recording quality.
It uses a Sony Exmor IMX323 image sensor and displays your picture in full HD 1080p at 30 fps. It has a 170-degree lens and uses advanced imaging exposure technology that automatically adjusts to give you balanced images in a variety of lighting situations.
Like other dash cams, this model uses loop recording, and you can select if you want to save your data in increments of three, five, or ten-minute segments and old, the unimportant footage will be automatically recorded over when the card is full.
The Rexing V1 also uses a G-Sensor, or automatic accident detection technology to ensure that any time the gravity sensor is disturbed the camera captures, locks, and permanently saves the footage so that you can inspect what happened.
This option has a large memory and can support a micro SD memory card of up to 128GB.
It retails for $$$, but you can often find great offers online and pick it up for right around $$$.
Star Rating: 4.8
The JEEMAK mini dash cam is a budget-friendly option that gives you high-definition 1080p recordings front a front-facing lens. It provides 120 degrees of coverage, which can cover up to three lanes of traffic when you’re driving.
This model has one, three, and five-minute loop recording settings, and will only overwrite data that hasn’t been locked when the memory card is full.
One appealing feature that users love about this model is its size. It’s smaller than the palm of your hand, but still features a 1.5-inch Low-Temperature PolySilicon LCD screen that gives you crystal clear images when you record and playback video.
It’s equipped with an internal G-sensor that saves and stores video during a collision automatically and permanently, and it won’t overwrite the content in loop recording.
The JEEMAK mini uses a suction cup mount that rotates so that you can find the perfect angle of coverage. It plugs into your car charger and comes with a 12-month limited warranty from the manufacturer.
It retails for around $$, but you can often find it online for half that, and there are many coupons that could save you up to an additional 20 percent off the discounted price. Expect to pick this one up for less than $$ if you find a good deal.
Star Rating: 4.7
If you’re particularly concerned about getting clear, crisp recordings at night, this Crosstour model might be your top pick. It uses Sony 2M CMOS Sensor technology and records in full HD 1080p, which produces clear images of everything from street signs to license plates even at night.
In addition, this front-mounted cam has two infrared night vision lights which produce a better picture than what you may be able to see with the naked eye driving in dark conditions.
This model also uses wide dynamic range (WDR) technology which brings the true color of an object to life in video. This is helpful in a variety of situations, for example, if you need an accurate description of a vehicle that was responsible for damaging yours at night. It’s always helpful to know the precise color, as well as the make and model for the police report.
The 170-degree wide-angle lens can capture up to four lanes of traffic from the front of your vehicle while you’re driving.
This model has both a built-in G-Sensor and a motion detection cam that captures movement from within 3 meters of your vehicle. The G-Sensor will automatically lock your files if it experiences a sudden collision or shakes, and the motion detection cam will activate automatically, and then shut off once the movement ceases for ten seconds.
The Crosstour has a lot of the same features of higher priced models, but users love the price point. It retails for around $$.
Star Rating: 4.7
This budget-friendly recording device from Actionpie regularly gets five-star reviews from nearly everyone one who purchases it. The 1080p uses an all-glass lens that delivers high-resolution images from the front of your vehicle.
It has a 120-degree recording radius and has a three-inch LCD screen to give you clear playback of up to three lanes of traffic.
This model does an excellent job of recording at night and comes with a high-sensitivity image sensor that gives you picture and color accuracy when using night vision.
The Actionpie camera creates a loop recording and supports a micro SD memory card of up to 32GB that you’ll need to purchase separately.
The X1 won’t stop working in high temperatures and can be stored at up to 160-degrees. This is convenient if you live in a hot climate because you won’t need to worry about leaving the camera in the car during the summer months.
The manufacturer gives you a 12-month replacement warranty with your purchase, and it also comes with a suction cup mount and USB cable.
This model retails for under $$, making it our most affordable top-rated option on the list.
Star Rating: 4.6
A favorite for it’s low-profile, the Aukey camera is a stealth model that attaches right behind your rearview mirror and captures a 170-degree field of vision without being noticeable from the outside.
It’s another HD model that records in 1080p resolution and uses a Sony Exmor Sensor. It also has an optional audio function that you can equip inside the car which could be helpful during a traffic alteration or other potentially hazardous situation.
Like our other top picks, the Aukey model has an emergency recording mode that gets triggered by the inherent gravity sensor. Anything recorded in this mode won’t get overwritten, and it will capture data when the sensor experiences unexpected movement.
This model mounts differently than some of the others on our list. Rather than a suction cup, you’ll affix the mount above your rearview mirror on your windshield with the two-sided 3M pads that come with the device. The camera clips into the mount, which makes it easy to pop out if you don’t want to leave it in your vehicle permanently.
It uses your USB port for power and comes with a 45-day money back guarantee and a 24-month warranty from the manufacturer.
You can buy it for around $$ online, but keep an eye out for manufacturer coupons. They often offer one that will save you an addition $ or more directly on their website, or through partners like Amazon.
Star Rating: 4.6
Picking out the perfect dash cam for your needs can seem overwhelming, and we’ve compiled these buying tips to help you narrow it down. Here are some additional things to know before you shop.
Dash Cam Features
Although most dashboard cameras operate in similar ways, there are lots of features to look for in every model. Depending on your needs, you may not need all the top of the line bells and whistles, which can save you money on your purchase.
Here is a list of all of the capabilities from which you can choose to find the right mix for you.
One commonly asked question by people shopping for a recording device is whether they need to invest in a single or dual-camera model.
To help answer that question, you’ll first need to determine if you want to record only things that happen inside your car, or if you also desire a view from the inside or rear of your vehicle as well.
If you drive professionally as an Uber or Lyft driver and want to be able to monitor both traffic incidents and your passengers, a dual-camera model might be the right choice for you.
These options are also perfect if you want a view from both the front and back of your vehicle, and are popular with drivers who live in areas that experience a lot of vandalism, hit-and-runs, or other incidents.
Memory Card Size
As a general rule, the larger of a memory card that the device can accommodate, the more it will cost. Obviously, the more data the memory card can store, the more video you will be able to save in your loop and on a permanent basis.
If you use a high-end Class 10 card, which is recommended for a good-quality high-definition recording, this is how many hours of video you can accommodate: