A dash cam can be an invaluable tool for drivers looking to provide video evidence in the event of an accident or incident on the road. With many options on the market, choosing the right dash cam for your needs can be tricky. This comprehensive dash cam review covers the top models to consider based on video quality, features, ease of use and value.
Overview of Dash Cams
A dash cam is a camera that mounts to the dashboard or windshield of your car and continuously records video while you drive. Key benefits include:
- Provides video evidence in case of an accident, traffic dispute or crime. Can help prove fault and protect against false claims.
- Records driving adventures, road trips and scenic routes. Allows you to re-live and share memorable rides.
- Monitors parked vehicle and activates with motion sensor to catch vandals or hit-and-run drivers.
- Low-profile, set-and-forget design with auto on/off. Many run off the car battery so require no recharging.
- Affordable protection and insurance. Pricing ranges from $50 for a basic unit up to $250 for a premium 4K cam.
When choosing a dash cam, key factors to consider are:
- Video Quality: Higher resolution (1080p or 4K) and frame rate delivers better video for license plate reading. Look for wide dynamic range and night vision.
- Field of View: A minimum of 130° FOV captures more of the road and any incidents. 160°+ is ideal.
- Size: Compact cams that fit discretely behind the rearview mirror are preferred.
- Storage: Loop recording overwrites old footage automatically. Look for auto on/off to conserve car battery.
- Ease of Use: Simple install with an adhesive mount, intuitive controls and clear displays. WiFi for connecting to phone.
- Durability: Ability to withstand heat and cold in the car. Look for temperature resistance.
- Extra Features: Incident detection for auto saving videos, GPS for speed and location data, parking mode and more.
Our Top Picks
Based on video quality, features, ease of use and affordability, we recommend the following top dash cam models currently available:
[H2] Nextbase 622GW 4K Dash Cam
[H3] Video Quality – Records in ultra clear 4K HD at 30 fps plus extended dynamic range for crystal clear footage day or night. Supports high capacity 128GB SD card.
[H3] Features – Built-in Amazon Alexa. Emergency SOS. Intelligent park mode monitoring. GPS records speed, location, date and time.
[H3] Ease of Use – Extra large 3” HD touchscreen. Intuitive menu system. Comes with click-and-go pro GPS magnetic mount for quick removal.
[H3] Price – $$$. A premium 4K model but worth it for the best-in-class video and smart features. Our top recommendation.
Overview – With stunning 4K video, smart safety features and easy magnetic mounting, the Nextbase 622GW is the best premium dash cam we reviewed. The complete package for set-and-forget video peace of mind.
[H2] Garmin Dash Cam 67W
[H3] Video Quality – Records in 1440p HD at 60 fps with HDR for superb image quality in all conditions. Great night vision.
[H3] Features – Integrated with driver awareness alerts including forward collision and lane departure warnings. Voice control and travelsapse in-app video highlights.
[H3] Ease of Use – Extra-large 2” screen with integrated buttons. Super-strong magnetic mount stays put. Easy clips compilation with smartphone app.
[H3] Price – $$$. A mid-range price for a premium dash cam packed with features. Great value.
Overview – The Garmin 67W combines sharp video with integrated driver alerts and voice control in an incredibly easy-to-use package. A great all-rounder.
[H2] Anker Roav Dash Cam Duo
[H3] Video Quality – Dual cameras record in full HD 1080p at 60 fps: front-facing and interior-facing for complete 360° coverage. Night vision sensor.
[H3] Features – Parking monitor, GPS, motion detection. Mic for audio. Intelligent emergency recording. Includes 32GB memory card.
[H3] Ease of Use – Good 2” display screen. Sturdy adhesive mount stays put. Simple controls and set up.
[H3] Price – $. One of the most affordable dual channel cams with decent HD quality.
Overview – The Anker Duo is a great value dual channel dash cam. It provides complete interior/exterior HD video coverage for total peace of mind at a very wallet-friendly price.
[H2] Vantrue N4 Three Channel Dash Cam
[H3] Video Quality – Quad HD 1440P front + 1080p interior + rear cams capture all angles in high definition detail. Superior night vision.
[H3] Features – Integrated parking mode, collision detection sensor and 24 hr motion detection for round-the-clock monitoring.
[H3] Ease of Use – 2.5” LCD screen and intuitive controls. Heat resistant supercapacitor. Includes 32GB SD card.
[H3] Price – $$$. A premium multi-channel system but offers complete 360° security.
Overview – With three HD cameras covering interior, exterior and rear, the top-of-the-line Vantrue N4 provides next-level recording protection. The ultimate dash cam package.
[H2] APEMAN Mini Dash Cam
[H3] Video Quality – Compact design but still records decent 1080P HD video at 60 fps. Has night vision and WDR.
[H3] Features – Loop recording, G-sensor collision detection, parking monitor, license plate stamps.
[H3] Ease of Use – Ultra compact and portable. Intuitive controls and large buttons. Adhesive mount and suction options.
[H3] Price – $. One of the most affordable dash cams with usable HD video. A great budget choice.
Overview – For a super affordable but usable HD video dash cam, the tiny APEMAN Mini is a great choice. It provides essential features in a compact, easy-to-use package.
[H2] KDLINKS R100 Ultra HD 1296P Dash Cam
[H3] Video Quality – Front 1296P + Rear 720P dual lenses capture ultra sharp, super wide-angle footage. Night vision sensor.
[H3] Features – G-sensor locks videos. Parking monitor mode. Timestamps on footage. Auto on/off.
[H3] Ease of Use – Bright 1.5” display screen. User-friendly menu and buttons. Includes adhesive mount and power cable.
[H3] Price – $. A very reasonable price for a full HD dual channel dash cam system.
Overview – The KDLINKS R100 delivers sharp front and interior recording at a super affordable price point. It’s a great entry-level dual lens dash cam.
Factors To Consider When Buying a Dash Cam
Look for full HD 1080p or higher video resolution for crisp footage and license plate reading ability. Wide dynamic range (WDR), night vision and frame rates of 60 fps also help capture detail in all conditions. Avoid cams that max out at 720p resolution.
| Resolution | Description |
| 720p | Standard definition, adequate for recognition |
| 1080p | Full high definition, recommended minimum |
|1440p/4K | Ultra HD quality, best for clarity and detail |
Field of View
A wide field of view between 130-180° is important to capture as much peripheral action as possible. This can make all the difference in recording relevant footage.
| FOV | Description |
| 90°-120° | Very narrow, will miss action |
| 130°-150° | Decent range, covers 2 lanes |
| 160°-180° | Extra wide, captures more angles |
Look for loop recording which overwrites old footage automatically on an SD card up to 128GB. Larger storage means longer recordings retained. Avoid cams with only internal storage, as this fills up fast.
Dash cams take a beating in hot and cold car interiors. Look for models touting heat resistance, cold endurance, impact resistance and other durability measures. Avoid cheap plastic models.
Ease of Use
A good dash cam should offer quick installation with adhesive or magnet mounting, an intuitive interface and extra-large buttons for simple operation. Automatic on/off and accident detection also simplify use.
Added features to look for include park mode to monitor while parked, GPS for speed and location data, WiFi for connecting to your phone, night vision and more. Consider which extra features may be useful for your driving habits.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are dash cams legal?
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A: Yes, dash cams are legal to use in all 50 states. There are a few regulations prohibiting audio recording without consent in some states. Always verify your local laws before using a dash cam.
Q: Where should I install my dash cam?
A: Most dash cams use an adhesive mount on the windshield behind the rearview mirror, high enough to avoid obstructing your view. Place off to the passenger side for discretion.
Q: How do I hide the dash cam wires for a clean look?
A: Use wire tucking tools and trim removal tools to tuck the power cable along the vehicle headliner and trim. Hide extras in the glove compartment. Avoid dangling wires.
Q: Do dash cams drain your car battery when parked?
A: Basic models may slowly drain the battery but most have auto on/off, low voltage protection and a parking mode to prevent battery drain while monitoring parked.
Q: Does weather affect dash cam performance?
A: Look for models with high operating temperature range (-10° to 150°F) for durability in weather extremes. Avoid cheap cameras that fail in heat and cold.
Q: How long do SD cards in dash cams last?
A: With loop recording and parking modes disabled, a 128GB card recording 1080p will store about 40 hours of driving footage, depending on compression. Format the card monthly for best performance.
The Final Word
Investing in the right dash cam for your vehicle and driving habits provides peace of mind and protection on the road. Carefully consider the video quality, features, ease of use and durability to find the perfect dash cam for you within budget. Our top overall pick is the Nextbase 622GW for its best-in-class 4K video and smart features. For tighter budgets, the Anker Roav, Vantrue N4 and APEMAN Mini also provide quality recording options at affordable price points. Safe travels!