Thanks to more powerful and affordable cam technology, everyday drivers can use powerful dash cams for a variety of purposes in different environments. Some take advantage of their front-facing camera power to protect themselves legally in the event of a crash, while others are more interested in simply capturing the scenic beauty of an extended road trip. Regardless of your reason for picking one of these intrepid cams up, there are now a seemingly endless number to choose from—making things difficult for potential buyers who haven’t necessarily decided on what they’re going to primary be using it for.
Still, some dash cams are blatantly better than others, and thanks to an increasingly powerful and affordable collection, there’s really no need to break the bank if you want to land a high-quality dash cam that can both protect you in the event of a crash and act as a go-to adventure camera every time you’re on the road.
So before you go out and waste your money on an overpriced cam, check out our list of the best dash cams around, based on variables that range from camera quality and size to overall functionality and style.
Choosing the perfect dash cam depends a great deal on whether or not you make your living behind the wheel. Full-time or even part-time drivers for companies like Uber of Lyft will likely require a bit more power and functionality from their cams than occasional drivers who only commute to work. Still, the competition between dash cam manufacturers has grown so fierce that the prices for even the best cams have been driven down dramatically, and there’s really no need to sacrifice quality for affordability anymore.
With that in mind, we bring you this incredibly versatile dash cam, which comes with a slew of features that will appeal to professional and casual drivers alike. Featuring automatic recording and shut down settings, this cam will turn on the moment you start your car engine (a handy feature for those of us who may be a big forgetful in the morning), and when you turn off your engine the cam will automatically save the video files on the TF card in a unique segment before shutting down.
You’ll also be able to employ the loop recording feature, which means that when the storage capacity is reached on the memory card, the cam will continuously erase old unlocked videos when it records new ones. There’s a built-in G-sensor that uses high-sensitivity technology in order to activate the cam’s recording feature instantly in the event of a crash (which can save you in potential legal proceedings if you weren’t in the wrong), and a 170-degree wide-angle lens in order to deliver incredibly clear videos and images. (It’s also excellent at reducing your blind zones during recording.)
And last but certainly not least, this cam supports the renowned 24-hour parking monitoring system—meaning it will enter the all-day monitoring state while parked whether your car engine is turned on or off. All in all, this is one of the best dash cams you can get for under $50, and it’s so affordable that anyone can add safety and functionality to their car.
- Incredibly cheap
- Great camera
- Small display
- Only records from front
There are plenty of similarities between this cam and the cam at our number-one spot, and since the two are almost identical when it comes to both style and price, choosing between the two can be tricky. You should consider them relatively technologically equal. Still, there are certain differences between the two that may or may not appeal to certain potential buyers. This 1080P dull-HD dash cam features a high-resolution lens that boasts a 170-degree range, and its ultra wide view is great for both eliminating blind spots and capturing beautiful landscapes during road trips.
You get a built-in G-sensor that allows you to automatically detect a crash and initiate recording, and you won’t have to worry about your videos being deleted prematurely thanks to a card-saver function that only overrides old and marked videos when it needs to. One unique feature of this cam when compared to our number-one pick is that it features a supremely powerful night vision function that doesn’t require an auxiliary light source even in incredibly low-light environments.
The flip side, however, is that the screen on this cam seems to be just a bit dull when compared to our number-one pick, although this shouldn’t be a problem for most users and doesn’t affect the overall quality of the feed or recordings. It’s also incredibly easy to use and set-up straight out of the box, thanks to an included suction mount, adhesive mount, mini USB cable, and car charger.
- Wide angle lens
- Clean design
- Slightly more expensive than our top pick
- Dull screen
Taking things up a notch in terms of quality (but also unfortunately price), we have this VAVA dash cam that offers a series of features that professional drivers or constant commuters will likely find attractive. It comes loaded with a 1080P cam and features a unique design that allows it rotate a full 360-degrees (meaning you’ll have virtually no blind spots at any time), and also features a 2.4GHz WiFi transmitter that allows you to connect the dash cam to your smartphone to stream photos and videos, all without the need for an SD card.
A standalone (and free) app included with the device allows you to easily and quickly configure every setting and download what you’ve streamed directly to your smartphone or other device—making this cam ideal for those who may be wary of trusting an SD card with their precious footage. It also boasts an incredibly impressive night vision feature that works well even in supremely low-light environments, and a built-in GPS allows you to accurately track your driving root, location, and speed simultaneously.
Another impressive feature of this cam is its seamless loop recording function and parking mode, which allows you to automatically overwrite the oldest clips with the newest videos, and trigger a collision sensor even when you’re parked. And thanks to its minimalist swivel design, this dash cam is one of the sleekest we’ve reviewed. The only reason it didn’t rank further up on our list was because of its elevated price, but if you have the cash to throw around we would highly recommend checking this cam out.
- Loop recording
- Full 360 degree video
- App can be a bit buggy at times
By combining the aesthetic qualities of a more traditional dash cam with the swivel-configuration seen above, this cam is ideal for drivers who want to minimize view obstruction on the road. It comes loaded with a 1080P HD cam along with the ability to shoot at 30 frames per second, and you’ll be able to use the 170-degree wide-angle lens at night thanks to a more-than-competent night vision function. This cam also boasts the imbedded G-sensor function for automatic recording in the event of a crash, and loop recording means that you’ll never have to worry about recording over your latest videos. Plus, this cam also supports a parking mode and an unusually generous warranty that offers two years of unconditional support for anything you may need.
- Small body
- Low frame rate
- Long design
This dash cam features a 1.5-inch configuration with a super-stealth, low-profile design that may be ideal for drivers who don’t want to necessarily call attention to their surveillance measures. You get the typical 1080P cam with a 170-degree wide angle lens, along with the standard G-sensor configuration that takes care of unexpected accidents. There’s also the option to utilize parking mode, although this camera doesn’t allows for 48-hour recording—only 24 hours when parked (which should more enough for people who use their vehicles frequently). Your order also comes with a USB cable, car charger, two sets of adhesive, and a very comprehensive user manual that will doubtlessly answer any questions you may have about the cam’s operation or installation.
- Great stealth design
- Parking mode
- Only 24 hour recording when parked
- Small display
Rounding out our list is this incredibly sleek Caferria Dash cam that boasts a truly brilliant LCD screen for unparalleled on-the-road viewing. You also get a 1296P lens that can rotate up to 170-degrees, along with a G-sensor and night vision that will allow you to record in low-light environments (although unfortunately not in the pitch black like some of the other night vision configurations on the above models). We found the loop recording function on this cam to be easy to operate, along with an easy installation and setup package that can be used straight out of the box.
- Large display
- Below average video
- Night vision can't handle full darkness