This post is pretty long–we present the best dash cam reviews, but before doing so, we will explore the importance of having a dashboard camera, and then we’ll look at the top dashboard cams for you to check out.
Imagine yourself driving safe and steady and suddenly another driver hits your car either in front of you or behind you. In cases like this, your word can be put against the word of the other driver. But if you have a dashboard camera, it can record what really happened and the police, as well as your insurance, can determine who really was at fault.
In case you are wondering what a dashboard camera really is – it is a video camera is mounted on the dashboard of a vehicle in order to record videos during driving. Dash cams are known by several different names including in-car camera, Digital Video Recorders or DVRs.
Although they are called dashboard cameras, they are often mounted on the windshield to capture better quality videos. Several kinds of dash cams are also available based on features and quality.
Dual lens cameras can record both the driver and the forward facing views simultaneously. The only difference between a conventional camera and a dash cam is that the latter has the ability to start recording automatically when it detects the car’s motion. You don’t need to turn it on and press the record button every single time.
A dash cam automatically makes space for newer videos by deleting the older ones. Thus, you can virtually record videos, hands-free.
Dashboard cams have become very popular in recent times. Not too long ago, they were used mainly by the police. Thanks to te reduction of prices, ordinary people like you and me can now buy them and install them in our cars.
Some HD dashcams are available for prices lower than $50. Thanks to advances in technology, as well as the low cost of manufacturing (primarily in China), companies are able to offer prices these low.
But don’t make prices your sole criteria in buying a dashcam, It should be reliable and of good quality to make sure that videos captured are clear and crisp. You wouldn’t want a dashboard camera that can only last for a month, you want something that could last for a long time.
Why you should consider buying a dash cam
Proof of accident
A dash cam records anything and everything while driving. If the camera is turned on, it will record video and audio before, during and after an accident occurs. You can use the dash cam video either as alibi or evidence against a culprit. The captured video can easily show who is at fault.
If you’re a reckless driver, then this trick might backfire and show you at fault, instead. If you search YouTube, you can see videos showing reckless drivers blaming their victims, but because of dash cams, they couldn’t deny that they were really at fault.
Check out the following video of a man checking his phone while driving and slamming into the vehicle in front of him.
Even if you’re a careful driver, you may still have an accident. To help you with repairs and any medical expenses, you’ll file an insurance claim. The insurance company often investigates the matter. If the video of your dashcam is available, you can show it to them to help boost your case.
Protection during your absence
Dash cams with parking protection also record videos when your car is parked. If someone damages your car while you are away, you will definitely know the culprit. This will be especially helpful for cars that are often parked at the side of the road. There’s a caveat, though, the dashboard camera needs to have a separate battery. Otherwise, it will drain your car’s battery, which will lead to other problems.
Damage by other drivers who borrow your car
It’s nice to have a friend that will lend you a car or a truck when you need one. But it’s not fun to be the owner of that car and discover that your friend did some damage to your vehicle. That just sucks!
In that case, a dashcam will remind your friend to take care of your car, and you will also know what your friend did to your car. Some dash cams also have GPS systems now, which will let you know the car’s driving route and speed.
Protect against abusive drivers, and even from corrupt law enforcers
Having a dashcam will help you capture reckless and abusive drivers on the road. And if they are endangering other people on the road, you should immediately call 911, but remember to pull over before using your phone. Speaking of pulling over. There are a lot of honest law enforcers, but you may encounter the occasional bad egg.
If you have reason to be concerned about a law enforcer’s behavior, having a dashcam will help remind them to stay within the bounds of their authority.
A dash cam can help remind you to be a good driver, while at the same time, helping you record video and audio that will be helpful in case of an accident.
Factors To Consider In Buying A Dash Cam
If you want to buy a dash cam for your car, you shouldn’t just decide based on price and how awesome the camera looks. You better dive in, do a little research while keeping within your budget. There are decent cameras that are under $100, but if you want extra features, you should definitely look at the more established, albeit more pricey models.
Here are important factors to consider in buying a dash cam:
Quality of recorded videos
The norm for cameras–in your smartphone, DSLR, point-and-shoot, and even dashboard cameras now is High Definition. How HD do you want your dash cam to be: 720p or 1080p?
Since your car cruising through the road isn’t really a footage for a movie, you don’t really need to have the highest definition camera out there. But you would want one that will provide you with clear footage. Thanks to YouTube, you can easily check the footage quality of different types of dashboard cameras.
Size and durability
Although dashcams are mounted in your windshield or on the dash, the vibrations of the car do affect it. You would want a dashcam that stays connected even if your car hits a pothole somewhere.
Not only that, if you got involved in an accident and the dashcam is hit or crushed, goodluck defending your side in the accident. You would want to buy a camera that could stay recording even thought it’s subjected to a high impact.
Its size should be compact to fit properly on your dash or windshield, not obstructing your view at the same time. More expensive models do have a screen that plays back video–that would be good for a quick review of what happened right before an incident.
Do check the quality of the sensor and the processor capacity of the dash cam. This is especially important for dashcams with parking monitors. Other features you might like include low light capturing, which is very useful for an evening drive.
Types of Dashboard Camera
You can choose from different kinds of dash cams:
Single-lens dash cams
This kind of dashcam is usually forward facing and installed in the front windshield to record anything that happens in front of the car. The problem, though, is that if you are rammed from behind, you may not be able to capture it. But these are usually cheaper and easier to install and maintain.
Dashcams with multiple lenses can have more than one lens. There’s usually a forward facing lens and one that captures what goes on inside the car. This could be helpful for car owners who are letting friends drive their car but who wants to make sure that the driver friend takes care of the car. A lot of commercial vehicle owners use this kind of dashcam to monitor their drivers.
More advanced multiple lenses can record input from a remote camera, typically installed at the rear windshield to record anything that happens behind the car.
Rear-view mirror style dashcams
This type of dashcams are also forward-facing, but they are mounted on your rear-view mirror, instead of on the windshield. If you don’t want your dashcam to be noticed, this is the perfect solution.
Action-cam style dashcams
Most dash cams are plugged into the 12V outlet of a car. But action-camera ones usually have their own power source. These are used by a lot of race car drivers and daredevils. Imagine a GoPro mounted on the windshield? These may also need to be manually started and stopped.
Which dash camera is the best one for you?
If you’re a newbie driver, the front-facing single-lens or multi-lens dashcam would work best. They are reasonably priced, and for the purpose of capturing footage of what happens in the immediate vicinity of your car, they are perfect!
The Best Dash Cam Reviews
Here are our top recommendations for dashboard cameras: