Today, dash cams have become an indispensable asset for motorists. Beyond merely capturing daily commutes, these discreet devices serve as pivotal witnesses in accidents, act as safeguards against fraudulent claims, and significantly bolster overall road safety. They're extremely versatile and useful, offering a range of benefits that make them a must-have for drivers. Fortunately, acquiring the best dash cam has been made easier with our list of top picks.
We've selected five exceptional dashboard cameras based on user feedback and a comprehensive analysis of their features. Factors such as video quality, viewing angles, storage capacity, and connectivity options were the primary focus of our selection process. However, while considering these attributes, we also recognised the importance of cost seeing as money is pretty tight for most people right now. Luckily, devices like the DDPAI Mini3 boast remarkable 1600p resolution without the exorbitant price tag, ensuring exceptional value for users without compromising quality.
So whether you seek reassurance during your journeys or aim to capture breathtaking scenic routes, our collection of the best dash cams is here to help you make a purchase. Whatever your specific needs may be, we've got a diverse range of options to cater to specific preferences. With that being said, here are our top picks...
Best dash cam
1. Garmin Dash Cam 67W
Best dash cam overall
Connectivity: Wireless, Bluetooth
Viewing angle: 180 degrees
The Garmin Dash Cam 67W is a sleek, pocket-sized camera incredibly well-suited to recording on-road footage. Despite measuring just 56 x 41 x 22 mm, it excels at capturing impeccable 1440p resolution video of the road ahead. Its unobtrusive nature also allows it to blend seamlessly onto your windshield, keeping it discrete and non-distracting as you drive.
Impressively, this diminutive camera also offers a wide 180-degree field of view, guaranteeing comprehensive coverage of any incidents that may arise, as well as any stunning scenery you drive past.
If an incident were to occur though, then its built-in GPS timestamps your recording (which happens automatically) with location details, giving proof of where the accident occurred for insurance purposes.
You can also control it with your voice, with commands including save video, start and stop audio recording, take a still picture, and more, all of which means you never have to take your hands off the wheel. With wireless and Bluetooth connectivity as well, allowing you to pair it with your phone, there's really little downside to owning this impressive Garmin device.
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2. Nextbase 622GW Front and Rear
Best front and rear dash cam
Resolution: 4K / 1080p
Viewing angle: 140 degrees
Okay, there may have been one downside to the Garmin above - it only comes with one camera. This Nextbase 622GW bundle, on the other, hand is worth checking out as it allows for both front and rear vehicle capture with not one, but two cameras to record with.
Each recording will be crystal clear as well because the front camera can record cinematic 4K at 30 frames per second (fps). The rear camera, rather impressively, records footage at 1080p, giving you a detailed picture of what's happening all around you as you drive.
Like the Garmin above, this Newtbase device also auto-saves footage in the event of an incident, and it utilises Alexa Skills to make it controllable through spoken commands.
Other notable features include an intelligent park mode that automatically records 30 seconds of footage if it detects an impact, super slow-motion playback at 120 fps, and the ability to send footage, location, and your policy number to your insurance company at the touch of a button. With all these features in mind, it is definitely a top pick.
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3. Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2
Best wireless dash cam
Viewing angle: 140 degrees
Moving back over to Garmin and the even smaller Dash Cam Mini 2, a delightfully compact device capable of recording detailed 1080p video, covering an impressive 140-degree field of view.
It is also completely wireless as it can be paired to your phone using a Wi-Fi or data connection. Once connected, it saves videos automatically and secures them in what Garmin calls an online "Vault", making it easy to view and share clips later from the Garmin Drive app.
It also comes with a feature known as Parking Guard, which monitors activity around your parked vehicle and alerts you via the app if an incident has been detected. This means that, even if you're not behind the wheel, your vehicle is still safely guarded.
The sturdy construction is a notable highlight as well. Garmin proudly emphasises its ability to endure challenging in-car conditions, such as intense sunlight and high temperatures, even if it remains in your vehicle throughout the day. This truly positions it as the ideal compact on-the-road partner. So, if you're seeking a wireless dash cam, it's certainly a compelling option to consider.
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4. DDPAI Mini3
Best budget dash cam
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, USB
Viewing angle: 140 degrees (360-degree swivel)
As touched on in the introduction, the DDPAI Mini3 is a great, budget-friendly dash cam worth checking out if you don't want to break the bank to buy one at this stage in time.
Although relatively inexpensive, the camera is still incredibly smart, capturing a 140-degree field of view in 1600p detail while you drive. Furthermore, it has an infrared filter to block infrared rays and reduce glare, helping make captured footage sharper and clearer to look back on.
It also rotates a full 360 degrees if needed, plus it features an F1.8 aperture and wide dynamic range technology to make low-light video capture brighter and clearer. This means that, even at night, you're able to see what went on around you in detail when you look back at your footage.
Finally, its built-in 6-axis G-sensor automatically activates its emergency recording in the event of a collision, so you need never worry about missing an incident on the road. This, alongside all its other amazing features, makes the DPPAI Mini3 an excellent budget dash cam.
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5. Rove R2-4K
Best mid-range dash cam
Viewing angle: 150 degrees
Finally, we come to the Rove R2-4K, a slightly more premium dash cam, although its price tag is still fairly modest compared to some of its competitors.
Paying just that little extra means you get a dash cam that can capture in full 4K, covering 150 degrees in front of you. Rove boasts it's one of the most advanced dash cams on the market, with features like its ultra-low light Sony STARVIS sensor and F1.8 aperture ensuring full visibility, even at night.
Its display is handy too, as it shares information on your live speed, date, time, and compass position. All this can come in handy if an incident occured because it's all crucial evidence that can be used to support your claim.
It's even simple to set up, made even easier by its 360-degree rotating mount that allows you to record from any direction. You can connect to it over Wi-Fi as well, making it straightforward to pair with any smartphone to examine footage after your drive. And that's only really scratching the surface of what this Rove device can provide. Therefore, check it out if you're interested in purchasing a dash cam.
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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Buying a dash cam isn't a straightforward task, so we've answered some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding these compact devices below.
What is a dash cam?
If you've come this far and are not quite sure what a dash cam is, don't worry. The simple answer is that a dash cam, short for "dashboard camera", is a small video camera that is typically mounted on a vehicle's dashboard or windshield to record the view from the front (and sometimes rear) of the vehicle while driving.
These cameras are designed to capture real-time footage of the road and surrounding environment, meaning you can record picturesque scenery as you drive.
However, one of the key advantages of owning a dash cam is it gives you valuable evidence that can be used in case of accidents or collisions. Your recorded footage can help establish the sequence of events and determine fault, which can be especially helpful when dealing with insurance claims or legal matters. It really is useful in all kinds of scenarios, even extending to insurance fraud such as "crash for cash" schemes.
It's worth noting that dash cams vary in terms of features and capabilities. Some models may have built-in GPS to record speed and location data, while others may include Wi-Fi connectivity for easy sharing and remote access to footage. Therefore, it's worth researching if you're interested in buying one. This, coincidentally, leads us to...
What features should you look for when choosing a dash cam?
Selecting the right dash cam involves careful consideration of various features to ensure it meets your needs and provides reliable performance. However, one of the most important factors to bear in mind when making your selection is the number of cameras it comes with. As shown by our list, most dash cams come with a single camera to capture what's immediately in front of you. But you also get some that come with a second camera for rearview capture. You'll therefore need to first consider how many angles you want to record from.
Once you've figured that out, you'll want to consider the video quality. We'd highly recommend something that offers high-definition (HD) or even ultra HD (4K) capture, as this will ensure clear and detailed footage of road incidents, license plates, and other crucial details you may need to build a case. Higher video quality is particularly important when dealing with low-light or night conditions, as it can significantly enhance the clarity of recorded footage.
The field of view is also something you need to look into as it determines how much of the surrounding environment the dash cam in question can capture. A wider field of view is beneficial as it enables the camera to record a broader perspective, minimising blind spots, and thus recording more relevant details. A typical range for the field of view is between 120 to 180 degrees, although we'd recommend going for something closer to the top end of this range.
It's also vital you consider storage capacity as dash cams continuously record footage. Most dash cams use microSD cards to store videos, so opt for a model that supports larger capacity cards to ensure sufficient room to record extended trips. Some dash cams may also offer loop recording, which automatically overwrites the oldest footage when the storage is full.
Finally, take into account a dash cam's connectivity options. Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity is ideal here as it enables you to wirelessly transfer footage from the dash cam to your smartphone or other devices. This feature simplifies the process of viewing and sharing videos without the need for physical connections.
And that sums up the key features to look out for. Any technology beyond this, such as parking sensors and low light capture modes, becomes more relevant depending on your needs.
Where is dash cam footage kept?
Dash cam footage is usually stored on an SD or micro SD memory card. You can then insert the memory card into a laptop or PC to review the footage if you want to look back on a previous journey,
However, dash cam footage can also be stored in online, cloud-based storage if the dash cam in question is Wi-Fi-enabled, or can be connected to a smart device via Bluetooth. The Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2, for instance, saves footage automatically to Garmin's online "Vault", from which you can evaluate and decide whether or not to save the footage to offline storage.
Do dash cams record audio as well as video?
Yes, dash cams can record audio in addition to video. Many dash cam models feature built-in microphones that capture the sounds inside and around the vehicle, including conversations, engine noise, and other background sounds.
This audio recording feature can be valuable for providing a more comprehensive record of events in case of accidents, road rage incidents, or other situations where audio context may be important. However, it's important to be aware of privacy laws and regulations in your region, as recording audio without consent may be subject to legal restrictions in some areas. Always check and adhere to local laws when using the audio recording feature on your dash cam.
If you are after a dash cam that can record audio, just double-check the camera specifications to ensure it comes with a built-in microphone as not all of them do.
Do dash cams have built-in GPS for tracking location and speed?
As touched on already, some dash cams come with built-in GPS to help provide location and speed information, in some cases, if an incident occurs.
More specifically, with a built-in GPS, it allows a dash cam to receive signals from global positioning satellites, which enables the device to determine its location. As you drive, the dash cam will likely record your vehicle's coordinates and embed this information into the footage it captures for later use.
However, it's important to note that not all dash cams come with GPS capabilities, or they may not track both location and speed. As a result, some may require an external GPS module that can be purchased separately. Whether or not to opt for a GPS-enabled dash cam though depends on your specific needs and preferences, as well as the level of detail you desire in your recordings.