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Our dash cam buying guide will help you pick the best dash cam for your car or truck. We have a selection of dash cam reviews to suit most needs and budgets below.
Many people are slow to embrace new technology, particularly dash cams. Nothing is as annoying as someone backing into your car, only for the insurance company and police to blame the crash on you. Having a dash cam ensures that in the event of an accident, you have visual evidence of what happened. Dash cams cost as cheap as $50, with some recording hours of footage in a loop. Other have the ability to record when the car is off, something that’s triggered by motion sensors. GPS sensors are also used to overlay location, time and speed. With that in mind, the goal of this post is to give a deeper insight into the benefits of dash cams and review the best models on the market.
What Is A Dash Cam?
Otherwise known as a dashboard camera or car black box, a dash cam is an onboard camera that records the view through the windscreen. It is usually attached to the top of a dashboard or interior windshield using an adhesive tape mount or suction cup. Trusted timestamping is a technique that involves time-stamping videos in a tamp-proof manner. This ensures that videos recorded with a dash cam aren’t interfered with. Dash cams are gaining popularity as they provide additional evidence for use as a guard against insurance fraud. They are also used in police vehicles as a way of gathering evidence during car chases, traffic stops.
Benefits Of Dash Cams
While owning a dash cam may not necessarily reduce the cost of insurance, there are valuable benefits that will accrue including:
- Prevent insurance fraud: Billions of dollars are lost every year due to insurance fraud. Having footage of a staged accident can reduce your rates significantly, albeit indirectly.
- Record of your accident: It’s not always that drivers remember intricate details of an accident. With dash cam footage, you will know exactly how events transpired.
- The unattended vehicle: Many dash cams have motion sensors that turn on the camera if there’s movement around your cam. The recorded dash cam footage lets you know who breaks into your vehicle or hits it and takes off.
- Improve your driving skills: Just as athletes review footage of previous play games to improve their play or dances look in the mirror to improve their technique, reviewing daily footage can go a long way towards making you a better driver.
Choosing The Right Dash Cam For Your Vehicle
Some of the features you should look for in the best dash cam include:
- Shooting speed: Many dash cams record at an average speed of 30 frames per second, but 60fps is more efficient.
- Auto-record: Some cameras start recording as soon as the car is turned on, while others have the option to record even when the car is off. This is achieved with motion sensors.
- Wide angle lens: They allow the cam to record events occurring in a wider area around the vehicle.
- Storage capacity: Many models are compatible with 32+ GB microSD cards. This is worth about five hours of HD footage. When choosing a camera, ensure to check the specified class of card.
- Audio footage: Some high-end cameras are fitted with a microphone, allowing you to record audio and video footage.
- G-Sensor: This sensor automatically detects signs of collision such as rapid braking and sharp turns before saving that footage at the touch of a button.
- Image correction: The ability to manipulate light within images is a plus when it comes to low-light footage, night shots, and high-contrast imagery.
- Transferable files: In addition to downloading images instantly with a USB cable and MicroSD card, a few dash cams come with companion software. Whatever your options, it’s important to understand that finding a compatible media player is your responsibility.
- LCD screen and instant playback: These features are invaluable as they help exonerate you on the spot, eliminating the need for appearing in court.
- HD resolution: To ensure that you can see small details that license plate, your preferred camera should record in HD i.e. at least 1080×720 megapixels.
Best Dash Cam Under $200
Falcon Zero Touch PRO HD Dash Cam
The Falcon Zero Touch has all the features you need in a dash cam including auto-save after a collision. It is equipped with a f/2.0 lens that captures 170-degrees angle. The 11-inch cord is long enough that it won’t get in your way. We love that it captures HD footage at a 30 fps. It doubles as a still camera, allowing you to take close-up shots of any evidence that you may need. Other notable features include optional GPS, speed detection, and 32GB SD card. The cam activates automatically when there’s motion around the car. It’s backed by a 5-year warranty and excellent customer service.
- Easy to use
- Has an excellent video quality
- Powered continuously and doesn’t drain your car’s battery
- Everything you need including 3USBport car charger, SD card, etc. is included
- There’s no way to zoom in
- Lacks suction mount
PowerLead Puda D300 Dash Cam
With the high rates of insurance fraud, you need a dash cam that can record HD footage even in low-light conditions. The PowerLead Puda D300 has a front camera that records 158-degree wide angle and a back camera that captures 120-degree wide angle. It has a resolution of 1920×1080 MP and has a 2.7″ LCD screen from which you can access the functions or view footage. The features offered include Night Vision, Mobile vibration monitoring, and H.264 file compression just to name a few.
- Night mode allows for high-quality recording in low-light conditions
- Easy to mount without blocking your view
- Venting gills for improved reliability in extreme temperature conditions and harsh weather
- Excellent picture and video quality
- Two cables on two sides of the cam make it difficult to run the wires
- Rear camera wire is a little too long
Street Guardian SG9665GC v3 2017 Edition
One of the significant upgrades that come with the SG9665GC v3 2017 Edition is the new Sony IMX322 CMOS sensor that provides superior night performance. It uses the Novatek 96655 for audio capture. Unlike other models that are compatible with up to 32GB SD, this one works with up to 265GB SD cards, allowing you to record 1080p HD footage at 30fps for almost 40 hours. We love the new lenses as they work with the CMOS sensor to deliver HD quality night shots. Other notable features include a built-in microphone, H.264 file compression, 1.5″ LCD screen and inbuilt G-sensor.
- Includes everything you need for installation
- Built-in LCD screen useful for adjusting settings and monitoring status of camera
- Minimal fish-eye effect
- Excellent video quality
- GPS sensor isn’t built-in
Best Dash Cam Best Under $100
Action Sports Camera Dash Cam
This best dash cam is specially designed for adventurous drivers and any extreme sports players who love capturing footage on the move. The latest technologies are incorporated to deliver 1920×1080 HD footage at 30fps. It has a 120-degree wide angle lens, which is a let-down compared to the likes of Falcon Zero Touch and PowerLead Dura D300. We love the CMOS sensor as it allows for flawless night-time recording. Useful functions offered with this dash cam include time lapse for perfect capturing of sunrise and sundown landscapes, life cam app support, beauty mode and more.
- Great night shots
- Excellent video quality
- Everything you need for installation is included
- 30fps recording
- Built-in Wi-Fi isn’t reliable
Panlelo PA-X5 Android 4.4 DVR
An Android AllWinner A33 Quad Core combines with 32G Flash C10 High-Speed memory card to ensure that the Panlelo PA-X5 works smoothly. This dash cam is provided with a 32GB MicroSD that allows you to store all the footage recorded by the front and rear cameras. It has an anti-glare 5″ touch screen that allows for picture-in-picture display. The screen also acts as a small tablet with Wi-Fi hotspot, Navigation, Bluetooth and other useful functions. It is equipped with a G-sensor that automatically saves footage in the event of a collision.
- User friendly
- Plenty of useful functions
- Android AllWinner A33 Quad Core
- Seamless loop recording
- Cannot automatically adjust brightness between day and night
SANSCO 2K Extreme HD Pro 1296P Car Dash Camera
This dash cam records 2304x1296p footage at 30fps. This means you get the clearest images as compared to other models on this list. It is equipped with six glass lens and F2.0 aperture, thus creating high luminance flux imagery 24/7. The integrated double-exposure merging technology merges 60fps into 30fps footage, hence greater image quality. Another notable feature is the inbuilt G-Sensor, which automatically triggers emergency recording in the event of an accident. The cam is backed by an 18-month warranty, and the customer service is exceptional.
- Captures imagery in 2K Extreme HD
- Ability to merge 60fps into 30fps footage for better image quality
- Incredible night recording
- Smart collision detection with G-sensor
- Installation manual isn’t easy to comprehend
Best Dash Cam Under $50
Lecmal GS8000 Dash Cam
This is a reasonably priced dashboard cam for cars with an inbuilt microphone that allows audio recording. It is equipped with a G-sensor that provides smart collision detection and IR night vision. Many customers expressed their appreciation for this cam’s ability to seamlessly record footage on a loop as it allows for easy memory management. It records 1920×1080 audio and video at 30/60 frames per second. A suction cup bracket and 3m adhesive are provided for easy installation.
- Supports G-sensor 30/60 fps smooth video recording
- 7” LCD screen allows you to adjust settings and monitor the status of camera
- Easy memory management thanks to seamless loop recording
- Sold exclusively by the manufacturer
- Instructions are a little difficult to understand
- Doesn’t last very long
Btopllc On Dash Video
While it doesn’t have features like a G-sensor or motion sensors found on high-end models, it offers great functionality given its price range. Such include support for various audio/video recording modes versatility. It is also fitted with a 2.4″ HD screen and is easy carry or store. The lockable suction cup provided allows for easy mounting on the dashboard of your car.
- Accessories for installation provided including USB cable, car charger, suction bracket as well as user manual
- Automatic ignition detection
- Emergency video recording and locking to save energy
- Manually adjustable microphone sensitivity for privacy
- Suction cup breaks easily
Congratulations if you found what you are looking for in the above list. If not, be sure to keep the factors discussed in the buyer’s guide section in mind. They will aid your search and help narrow the choices down. Shop with a list of the essential features and tick them one by one as you go.