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Whether your goal is to grab some quick and easy footage of your drives for your Instagram page, or you just want to protect yourself from a lawsuit, a dash cam is the way to go. Some things you’ll want to consider are whether you’ll need features like night vision, an HD picture, parking monitoring, collision detection functionality, or even a front and rear dash cam setup (considering that nearly 30% of all accidents are rear-end collisions according to the NHTSA). Some dashboard cameras even have built-in WiFi, letting users quickly save and edit their videos right from their phone. Starting at under $40, these options could save you thousands, not to mention the headaches that come with dealing with insurance companies.
- Records at a 1080P HD video quality with 30 FPS resolution
- Features a 170° wide angle lens field of view w/ a F1.8 aperture, WDR and night vision capability
- USB connectivity
- Records onto a MicroSD card
- Has auto start/stop and loop recording
- Built-in G-sensor allows the cam to detect crashes or sudden vibration/shock
- Includes parking monitoring
- Easy set up
- Comes with a 2 year warranty
This iZeeker dash cam is one of the best bang for your buck deals you can find in car video. For only $31.99 you get a dash cam that records in 1080P full HD with a 170° wide angle lens. Like most other cams, this one saves videos onto a MicroSD card and features loop recording, automatic start and stop and it also employs a G-sensor for crash detection. There’s even a parking monitoring feature. iZeeker will provide a 2 year warranty with your purchase. Check out an image from the cam right here.
- This dual cam includes a 1080p resolution front camera and a waterproof rear camera
- USB connectivity
- The front cam records at a 170° field of view while the rear cam records at a 130° angle
- Features loop recording and emergency accident locks, thanks to the built-in G-sensor
- Includes 24-hour Parking Mode
- Supports up to a 32 GB SD card (not included)
- Built for easy installation
- Purchase includes lifetime 24 hour technical support
The Chortau dual dash cam is equipped with a 1080p HD front camera and a waterproof back camera for video recording. The front cam captures video with a 170° wide-angle lens while the rear cam features a 130° lens. Like the other cams in the list, this one features loop-recording and G-sensor technology. The biggest ding against this cam that we can see is that it unfortunately can only handle a 32GB SD card, but thanks to the loop recording, that makes the storage capacity of the SD card matter less than ever. After 24,000 Amazon reviews it’s sitting at a cumulative score of 4.2 out of 5 stars. This reviewer was looking for a “simple” cam that would “just work,” and they seem to have found exactly that in the Chortau. Click here to see their footage taken with the cam. Want to snag this Chortau cam? Learn more right here.
- Records videos up to a 2160p or 4K resolution
- 150° wide angle field of view lens
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- Features low-light/night vision recording
- Includes built-in WiFi to allow users to easily view and manage dash cam recordings on their mobile devices via the ROVE app
- The cam’s Built-in GPS accurately records driving location and speed
- Parking mode, motion detection, loop cycle recording, emergency video lock, time-lapse and slow-mo are all standard features on the cam
- Supports up to a 512 GB SD card (not included)
- Includes a 1-year warranty
The Rove 4K dash cam records videos in, you guessed it, 4K resolution. It has features like Super Night Vision technology, built-in WiFi functionality allowing you to instantly manage your recordings on your smart phone, built-in GPS to record your location and speed, parking mode, motion detection, a 150° wide-angle lens, G-sensor tech, loop cycle recording, emergency video lock, time-lapse video, slow-mo video, and it can handle up to a 512GB micro SD card for storage. One reviewer shared some of his own footage shot with the camera right here. After 24,000 Amazon ratings, it’s sitting at an impressive score of 4.4 out of 5 stars. Want your dash cam recordings to be in crisp 4K? Click here to learn more about the Rove R2.
- 4K, 140° wide capture field of view
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity
- Works with a variety of second camera modules
- Features Wide Dynamic Range technology and night vision shooting
- Includes 24-hour parking monitoring – thanks to a built-in G-sensor, the 622GW can automatically turn on and start recording if your car gets hit in a parking lot
- Loop Recording automatically overwrites old footage
- Emergency Accident Lock saves/locks the current video whenever a shake or collision is detected, so it won’t get over-written
- SD card not included
The Nextbase 622GW is advertised as a top of the line dash cam with the price to match. It features, among other things, 4K video quality recording, image stabilization, enhanced night mode, intelligent parking mode and emergency response built-in. Along with the 4K front-facing camera, there is an entire line of modules that work with the 622GW to provide you with multiple camera angles, protecting you in case of both forward and rear collisions. Want to read more about the Nextbase 622GW? Check out a full review of this camera and the modules that work with it here.
- This dual dash cam set-up can simultaneously record videos with its front cam at 4K resolution 170° field of view and its rear cam at 1080p resolution 150° angle
- Includes built-in WiFi connectivity to allow users to easily view and manage dash cam recordings on their mobile devices via its own app
- Built-in GPS records your route and driving speed for videos
- Includes collision detection, loop recording, emergency video lock and time-lapse recording
- Features night vision recording thanks to the Sony IMX335 STARVIS sensor and Hisilicon Hi3559 processor
- Supports up to a 256 GB micro SD card (not included)
The Kingslim dual dash cam can simultaneously record videos in 4K from the front cam and 1080p from the rear cam. It features “the industry-leading Sony IMX335 STARVIS sensor and Hisilicon Hi3559 processor. With super night vision, f/1.8 aperture, and WDR technology, you can record stunning details, even in low-light environments. With front 170° and rear 150° super-wide viewing angles and 6-layer glass fixed-focus lens, it gives you maximum coverage of the road and greatly enhances night vision, providing sharp and clear images and videos.” Thanks to a 3-inch touchscreen, you only need one finger to operate the device and toggle features like collision detection, loop recording, emergency video lock, and even time-lapse recording. This cam, like many of the others in this list, has built-in Wi-Fi and GPS and last but not least, it can handle up to a 256GB SD card for storage. Learn more about the Kingslim cam right here or check out its picture in this 5-star Amazon user review.
- Dual dash cam captures video at 4K resolution via its front cam and 1080p resolution via the rear cam
- Includes built-in WiFi connectivity to allow users to easily view and manage dash cam recordings on their mobile devices via the Ucam app
- Night vision recording is available thanks to the Sony STARVIS sensor
- Features 24 hour parking monitoring, loop recording and collision-detection
- Purchase includes a lifetime warranty and 24-hour technical support
The REDTIGER dual dash cam has basically all of the features you could want out of a cam system like this at a great price. It can capture 4K video recordings from its front cam and 1080p video from the rear cam, both in daylight conditions and at night. The system has built-in WiFi which is always a helpful feature since it allows you to easily connect the cam to your phone to be able to save or edit videos right on your mobile device. Like many others, this camera system has 24-hour parking monitoring, collision-detection, and loop recording, all great features to look for. One reviewer shared a video of the cam’s “clear and sharp” picture right here. Last but not least, the brand offers a lifetime warranty and 24-hour technical support. Learn more about the REDTIGER right here.
- This three-part dash cam includes a 1440p 155° field of view front camera, 1280p 165° FOV inside camera and 1280p 160° FOV rear camera
- USB-C Connectivity
- All cams record video and audio
- Features Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor
- Includes infrared night vision recording
- Features a 24-hour low-bitrate parking mode that can automatically initiate recording when the motion or collision detection is triggered
- Multiple potential set-ups for the cams make this a great choice for rideshare drivers
- Does not rely on lithium batteries, allowing for easier use in some extreme weather conditions
- Can handle up to a 256 GB SD card (not included)
- Does not support WiFi or Bluetooth
The Vantrue N4 is a three-channel dash cam that features a 155° front camera, 165° back camera and 160° rear camera. It captures footage in a 1440P resolution for the front cam and 1080P for the inside and back cams. The cam features a “high-performance Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor, a big F1.4 aperture 6-glass lens observing road front, [and an] F1.8 6-glass lens observing [the] rear.” One reviewer showcases the cam’s “top notch” picture in a video right here. Other exciting features include infrared night vision capability, 24 hour motion detection, collision detection parking monitoring and optional GPS (sold separately). The cam currently has nearly 5,700 Amazon ratings with a total score of 4.4 out of 5 stars. Check it out here.
- 170-degree field of view 1080P HD front camera and 720P waterproof rear camera
- IPS Display wide dynamic range functionality
- USB connectivity
- 32gb SD card included
- Loop recording
- Built-in G-sensor for auto-recording when the car is hit
- Automatic light adjustment/night vision
- Parking monitoring
- Crowbar and cable clips for installation included
- Voice recording, motion detection, photo function
- Purchase includes a lifetime warranty
The DDK dash cam provides a 1080P HD picture from the front and a 720P picture from the rear. Like many other cameras, it has a built-in G-sensor for automatically recording and saving a video when it feels an impact to your vehicle. It features loop recording, automatic light adjustment, parking monitoring, WDR functionality, motion detection and more. It even comes with a crowbar and cable clips for installation and includes a lifetime warranty with your purchase.
How do dash cams work?
To put it simply and briefly, a dash camera records a variety of data and stores it for a period of time, which can be used later if there’s an accident or road rage incident to prove that you’re not at fault. (We’re assuming you’re not at fault; more on that in a second.) The dash cam obviously records video, but most also record audio. Many of the more advanced units come with GPS, which can be used to determine vehicle speed, and some come with accelerometers which can sense a crash and preserve the footage taken just before the accident.
Almost every car dash cam will record as soon as it gets power — so, when the car turns on, and the cam is plugged into ignition-controlled power, it’s recording. Beyond that, there are a huge number of variations. Some have LCD screens built in, so you can review the footage without having to plug the unit or memory card into a computer.
Most have built-in flash storage, and many are expandable. When the storage runs out, the camera just overwrites the existing data. That’s fine; no one needs to see you run errands a few days before an accident occurs. If there’s footage you’d like to save, just make sure to offload it before it’s overwritten.
What is a dash cam for?
From a user’s perspective, the point of a dash cam is to protect you in the event of an accident, and it relies on the notion that the driver using one is not at fault. The dash cam can’t cover for you if you did something wrong, but it can help prove that you were in the right. It records what it records. Let’s say an unscrupulous person throws himself in front of your car, or stands on the brakes on the freeway, causing an incident. This is where a dash cam shines. That evidence can be used to help prove that the incident wasn’t your fault. Otherwise it might be your word versus the other person’s, and perhaps you’ll take a portion of the blame … which could increase your insurance premiums, or worse.
If you use one, you want to drive carefully and legally. Let’s say you were speeding through a school zone, looking at your phone, and sideswiped a parked car with a GPS-equipped dash cam recording your position, speed, and the incident. It’ll be pretty clear from the dash cam footage exactly what happened.
Oh, and don’t assume that you can simply delete footage after you do something that’s your fault. While the specific laws in your locality may vary, let’s just say that the authorities won’t particularly like the fact that your otherwise operational dash cam conveniently is missing a chunk of footage. Of course, you’re going to drive safely, so this won’t be an issue. After all, a dash cam should be a constant reminder of that.
What’s the best dash cam to buy?
As with anything, there’s no definitive answer here, it’ll just depend on your own individual needs. However, if you’re looking for a truly top-of-the-line cam, we’d recommend checking out the Nextbase 622GW, which you can check out above, or read our full review of right here.
How much does a good dash cam cost?
Dash cams have a very wide ranges of prices, from as low as around $25 to as high as several hundred. However, if you don’t have any specific needs and are just looking for a pretty average dash cam to get the job done, you’re probably looking at somewhere around $40 – $100.
Is a 4K dash cam worth it?
For most people a standard HD dash cam will probably get the job done, but 4K cameras do offer some benefits thanks to the higher resolution. For instance, wide angle lenses, as featured on most dash cams, can sometimes make license plate numbers harder to read since they’re often small in the frame, but the heightened resolution of 4K video can make that a bit easier.
Do dash cameras record when the car is off?
Most dash cams don’t record a continuous feed when your vehicle isn’t running, however, many cams nowadays include a “parking monitoring” feature that activates the camera automatically when your car is hit, and some even use a motion sensor to turn the camera on when anyone even approaches your vehicle.
Can I use dash cam to monitor my driveway?
As mentioned above, most dash cams don’t record continuously when your vehicle is off, so if you’re looking for a way to continuously monitor your driveway, we’d recommend something like an outdoor security cam instead.
Is a dash camera legal?
Dash cams are legal in all 50 states, but many states have regulations on where you can place the camera in your vehicle. To check learn more about your own states regulations, check out this handy guide by GPSTrackIt.
Are dash cams easy to install?
Each dash cam will have a different installation process, but most are relatively easy to install on your own. In fact, some dash cameras, like the DDK Mini Dash Cam, even come with all of the tools you’ll need to install the cam.
How are dash cams powered?
Most dash cams need to be plugged into your car’s power socket to function, but many have emergency back-up batteries that allow use for a short period of time even when unconnected.
Pros and cons of using a dash cam
The other side of the coin is whether a dash cam is worth the investment and the small amount of upkeep. Since they’re conspicuous and somewhat valuable devices, they could be stolen if left out. And if unmounting it and hiding it to prevent its theft is too onerous, you might not set it up when you end up needing it. If you live in an area with a lot of traffic accidents, and you’re concerned about protecting yourself, it might be worth the hassle.
At this point, there’s no overwhelming argument in favor of having, or not having, a dash cam. Insurance companies don’t require owners to have them, nor do many offer discounts for using them. But, the dash cam itself is a bit of an insurance policy. Just having one could prevent a serious legal or financial headache.
Consider the outlay involved, and then step back and think about how concerned you are about protecting yourself in the event of an accident or road rage incident. If this is something you’re already a bit worried about, and the piece of mind that comes with being able to present evidence to a court or the police that is likely to prove that you’re not at fault, then a dash cam is worth it. If it all seems a bit unnecessary or inconvenient, a dash cam’s probably not for you.
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