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Best Budget Dash Cams

The best budget dash cams can be the difference between hard evidence and hearsay in the event of an accident.
Written and Tested By:
Aidan Pounder
Written and Tested By: Aidan Pounder Writer – Motor1 Review Team

Aidan Pounder is a Motor1 product tester who has written reviews spanning from tonneau covers to rooftop cargo boxes. If he’s not burning through the clutch on his 2003 Ford Focus Zx3, you’ll find him keeping up with the latest happenings in the world of European football.

Tested By:
James Kiefer
Tested By: James Kiefer Multimedia Producer – Motor1 Review Team

James Kiefer has been writing about automotive products on Motor1 since 2021 and has assessed hundreds of products for everyday drivers. He’s tested everything from headlight restoration kits to OBD2 scanners to dash cams, giving him an in-depth understanding of which products are useful for car owners and how they can fit into any driver’s lifestyle.

Last Updated 12/15/2023

Motor1 Reviews Team Take:

  • The best budget dash cam in 2024 is the Z-Edge Z3 Pro. The Z3 Pro from Z-Edge offers front and rear facing cameras that capture high-quality pictures and video footage.
  • In this review, we recommend dash cams specifically priced under $100. At this price level, you can find HD dash cams with the most useful features like sentry mode and loop recording.
  • Any dash cam should offer reliable, easy-to-access recordings and function well at night. It can also be helpful to have cameras with both front and rear recording abilities.
Best Budget Dash Cam
Z-Edge Z3Pro

A high-quality dual-camera dash cam that can also act as a parking monitor.

Best Budget 4K Dash Cam
Kingslim D5-4K Dash Cam

A high-quality dash cam with an incredibly bright and clear screen display.

Best Budget Dash Cam Under $50
70mai Smart Dash Cam 1S

A high-quality, low-cost dash cam with an undistorted wide view lens.

Best Budget Dash Cam Front and Rear
Galphi M2 Dash Cam

A great dash cam with an incredibly helpful voice guidance feature.

Best Budget Dash Cam with GPS
Rexing Dash Cam V1

A weather-resistant, low-profile dash cam that records quality footage.

The best budget dash cam can provide high-quality video and pictures while you’re behind the wheel. Dash cams are incredibly useful for proving who’s at fault in the event of an accident. Insurance agents, police officers, and court officials may ask questions about the circumstances surrounding a car accident which makes quality dash cam footage essential.

This review focuses on dash cams under $100, but our product testing team has also previously reviewed the best dash cams with no price restrictions. As is standard across all of our content, our top picks were formulated through hours of research, testing, and unbiased review.


Best Dash Cam On A Budget

The best dash cam on a budget in 2024 is the Z-Edge Z3Pro. However, the Kingslim D5-4K, 70mai Smart Dash Cam 1S, Galphi Dash Cam 2K, and the Rexing Dash Cam V1 round out our team’s picks for the best budget dash cams.

Budget Dash Cam Reviews

Each budget dash cam in this review was thoroughly tested and evaluated based on several categories, including ease of installation, video quality, and user experience. You can find more specifics regarding our rating system here.

The scores in each category are compiled into a single overall rating that ranges from 1.0 to 5.0 stars. Each budget dash cam’s ratings, including their overall ratings and awards from our team, are highlighted below:

Brand/ModelOverall RatingAwardCost
Z-Edge Z3 Pro5.0Best Budget Dash Cam$99.99
Kingslim D54.7Best Budget 4K Dash Cam$69.99
70mai Smart Dash4.5Best Budget Dash Cam Under $50$31.99
Galphi 2K4.3Best Budget Dash Cam Front and Rear$79.99
Rexing V14.2Best Budget Dash Cam with GPS$94.99
Vantrue E1 Lite4.2N/A$89.99
Scosche NEXS14.0N/A$49.99

*Because cost data fluctuates, the prices in the table above are approximate values that our team regularly updates.

For those interested in learning more, we’ve provided a detailed review of each of the best budget dash cams in the sections below:

1. Z-Edge Z3Pro: Best Budget Dash Cam

Z-Edge Z3Pro
Z-Edge Z3Pro Best Budget Dash Cam
Z-Edge Z3Pro and accessories
  • Cost: $99.99
  • Amazon review score: 4.1 out of 5.0 based on more than 500 ratings
  • Max recording resolution: 2K
  • Mounting style: Suction
  • Rear-facing camera included?: Yes

The Z-Edge Z3 Pro is our pick for the Best Budget Dash Cam. This dual dash camera can capture up to 2560 x 1440p at 30 frames per second (FPS) through the front-facing camera and 1920 x 1080p HD footage at 30 FPS through the rear camera.

You can see how the Z-Edge Z3Pro performed in each of our testing categories below:

Review Category Score
(Out of
5.0 Stars)
Our Testing Highlights
Ease of Installation 5.0 The Z-Edge Z3 Pro was a breeze to install and set up. A suction cup mount fits nicely under your rearview mirror and you can lock the dashboard camera into place.
Video Quality 5.0 In terms of video quality, there aren’t many dash cams under $100 that offer full HD (FHD) video. A 155-degree field of view, thanks to a wide-angle lens, is incredibly helpful.
User Experience 5.0 Compatible with Android and iOS, the Z-Dash Cam app is incredibly easy to use. The app makes capturing and downloading images or videos quick and simple.
Overall Rating 5.0 In our expert opinion, this is the best budget dash cam that you’ll be able to find on the market in 2024.

With an advanced NTK96675 processor, both front and rear dash cams have night vision meaning you’ll have no problem capturing video footage in low-light conditions. Below are the pros and cons for the Z-Edge Z3Pro:

Pros
  • Utilizes wide dynamic range (WDR) technology
  • Built-in G sensor detects crashes
  • Offers parking mode
Cons
  • Memory card not included
Z-Edge Z3Pro

Overall, we think the Z-Edge Z3 Pro has the easiest installation process of any other dash cam under $100 that we worked with. The HD video that this dual dash cam captures will give you the fewest blind spots and the best chance of capturing license plates.

Additionally, built-in Wi-Fi makes connectivity issues a thing of the past as connecting the app to the dash cam couldn’t be any simpler.

The vast majority of reviewers rave over the inclusion of both front and rear cameras to document incidents on the road to the fullest extent. Some reviewers note how effective this dash cam was for rideshare drivers who work for companies such as Uber or Lyft. One negative review notes issues with the installation process.

2. Kingslim D5-4K Dash Cam: Best Budget 4K Dash Cam

Kingslim D5 4K Dash Cam
Kingslim D5-4K Dash Cam Best Budget 4K Dash Cam
Kingslim D5-4K Dash Cam and accessories
  • Cost: $69.99
  • Amazon review score: 4.1 out of 5.0 based on more than 1,000 ratings
  • Max recording resolution: 4K
  • Mounting style: Sticky
  • Rear-facing camera included?: No (sold separately)

There are not many dash cams with a screen as high-quality as the Kingslim D5-4K Dash Cam, especially within a $0 to $100 price range. The 2.0-inch in-plane switching (IPS) screen is one of many helpful features that this dash cam has. One of these features is a GPS module that’s attached to the dash cam which allows you to playback recorded videos with GPS data.

You can see how the Kingslim D5-4K performed in each of our testing categories below:

Review Category Score
(Out of
5.0 Stars)
Our Testing Highlights
Ease of Installation 5.0 Installing the Kingslim D5 was hassle-free. We applied an electrostatic sticker to the inside of the windshield, stuck the adhesive tape to the dash cam, and put it onto the glass.
Video Quality 5.0 This dash cam’s recording quality doesn’t leave much to be desired. In terms of video quality, it doesn’t get much better than ultra HD 4K video.
User Experience 4.5 Where this dash cam loses minor points is in the UX of its app. This app was the most difficult to set up and downloading pictures and videos was an arduous process.
Overall Rating 4.7 This is a low-cost dash cam that provides incredibly high-quality video feed.

Below are the pros and cons of the Kingslim D5-4K:

Pros
  • Saves route and driving speeds in video
  • Equipped with Sony Starvis sensor
  • Offers parking mode
Cons
  • User experience (UX) of app could be better
Kingslim D5-4K Dash Cam attached to windshield.

The Kingslim D5-4K was one of our favorite budget dash cams that we tested. It had an incredibly user-friendly screen and offered some of the best quality video capture of any budget dash cam we researched or worked with. We also appreciated the inclusion of a pry tool to make removing the dash cam from a windshield much simpler.

A 170-degree wide-angle lens means your dash cam’s viewing angle is wide enough to capture anything in front of you on the road.

Kingslim D5-4K Dash Cam sample image

One reviewer in particular notes they own five different dash cams in each of their vehicles and that this is by far the best dash cam they’ve used. Many reviewers were impressed by the ease of installation and a few noted how much they liked the wide-angle view. A few negative reviews note a slow-to-respond customer service team.

3. 70mai Smart Dash Cam 1S: Best Budget Dash Cam Under $50

70mai Smart Dash Cam 1S
70mai Smart Dash Cam 1S Best Budget Dash Cam Under $50
70mai Smart Dash Cam 1S and accessories
  • Cost: $31.99
  • Amazon review score: 4.0 out of 5.0 based on more than 9,000 ratings
  • Max recording resolution: 1080p
  • Mounting style: Sticky
  • Rear-facing camera included?: No

The 70mai Smart Dash Cam 1S is equipped with the Sony IMX307 image processor and F/2.2 aperture so your dash cam can provide clear images at 1080p resolution, even in low-light scenarios. This dash cam also features loop recording and evidence protection, meaning the oldest videos are overwritten by the latest ones. However, videos can be stored locally on a microSD card from 16.0 GB up to 128.0 GB.

At under $50, it is one of the lowest-priced dash cams that offers acceptable video quality and convenience features.

You can see how the 70mai 1S performed in each of our testing categories below:

Review Category Score
(Out of
5.0 Stars)
Our Testing Highlights
Ease of Installation 4.5 There were few dash cams easier to install than the 70mai. Remove the wrapper covering the mount, slap an electrostatic sticker on your windshield, and the 70mai is good to go.
Video Quality 4.5 The video quality of this dash cam was high and the 130-degree wide-angle lens meant there was no distortion towards the edges of the pictures and videos this dash cam took.
User Experience 4.5 The 70mai 1S’s app is easy to connect to and the app itself is straightforward to use. There’s no guesswork involved as the dash cam’s user manual explains every step clearly.
Overall Rating 4.5 This dash cam from 70mai is an incredibly low-cost budget dash cam that can still capture quality video.

Below are the pros and cons of the 70mai Smart Dash Cam 1S:

Pros
  • Great video quality in low light
  • Exceptionally low price
  • Easy to use app
Cons
  • New footage automatically records over old footage
70mai Smart Dash Cam 1S attached to windshield

What separates the 70mai 1S from other budget dash cams is how affordable it is. Amongst budget-friendly dash cams, the 70mai stands out for its price and its surprising quality. It effortlessly captured license plates with great detail and a fantastic wide-angle view. Because of this, we believe you won’t have any trouble capturing license plates or incidents on the road with this budget dash cam.

70mai Smart Dash Cam 1S sample image

The majority of customers rave over the simplicity of operation and how budget-friendly this dash cam is. Customers comment about this dash cam’s video quality. A few negative reviewers claim they had difficulty setting up their dash cam. Some also report that the event detection feature is overly sensitive, activating randomly and at stops.

4. Galphi M2 Dash Cam: Best Budget Dash Cam Front And Rear

Galphi Dash Cam 2K
Galphi M2 Dash Cam Best Budget Dash Cam Front And Rear
Galphi Dash Cam 2K and accessories
  • Cost: $79.99
  • Amazon review score: 4.3 out of 5.0 based on more than 2,900 ratings
  • Max recording resolution: 1440p
  • Mounting style: Suction
  • Rear-facing camera included?: Yes

Able to record 1440p video at 30 FPS, the Galphi Dash Cam 2K is a good dash cam for recording what’s happening on the road in front of you. You can use the exclusive app, Petzio, on both the App Store and Google Play Store, to view recordings, manage dash cam settings, and download videos. A GC complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) sensor with F/1.8 aperture and WDR technology allows this dash cam to have crystal-clear recording even in less than optimal settings.

You can see how the Galphi Dash Cam 2K performed in each of our testing categories below:

Review Category Score
(Out of
5.0 Stars)
Our Testing Highlights
Ease of Installation 4.5 The Galphi M2 had a simple installation process. We placed an electrostatic sticker on the windshield and put the dash cam over it. Installation doesn’t get much easier than that.
Video Quality 4.0 The Galphi takes clear pictures and videos with a 170-degree wide-angle lens. That said, its video quality is not quite as good as some of the other dash cams we’ve tested.
User Experience 4.5 Navigating through the app to download files wasn’t much of a challenge. We felt the process was relatively self-explanatory, but there’s also a user manual included.
Overall Rating 4.3 This is an easy-to-use, affordable dash cam that captures pictures and videos from both the front and rear.

Below are the pros and cons of the Galphi Dash Cam 2K:

Pros
  • Features a built-in Gravity-Shock sensor
  • Updated to be able to support 128GB memory cards
  • 720p cabin view
Cons
  • SD card is not included
Galphi Dash Cam 2K attached to windshield

The Galphi M2 dash cam doesn’t have many blind spots, but its video quality is not of the same standard as some of the other dash cams we’ve tested. While we felt the Galphi was easy to use, it included instructions in the box so you don’t need to worry about missing out on any steps.

Galphi Dash Cam 2K sample image

Reviewers note the easy installation process and how user-friendly the app is. The Galphi is praised as an excellent low-cost dash cam option. A few negative reviews complain that the dash cam doesn’t come with a microSD card. There are also some complaints about poor nighttime recording quality.

5. Rexing Dash Cam: Best Budget Dash Cam With GPS

Rexing Dash Cam V1
Rexing Dash Cam V1 Best Budget Dash Cam With GPS
Rexing Dash Cam V1 and accessories
  • Cost: $94.99
  • Amazon review score: 4.1 out of 5.0 based on more than 5,400 ratings
  • Max recording resolution: 2K
  • Mounting style: Sticky
  • Rear-facing camera included?: No

The Rexing Dash Cam V1 can operate in temperatures as high as 176.0 degrees Fahrenheit and as low as negative 20.0 degrees Fahrenheit due to the supercapacitor that’s featured in this dash cam. A 170-degree seven-layer glass lens paired with WDR technology allows you to capture a wide view with a clear image. The dash cam also features loop recording and a G-sensor.

The Rexing V1 Dash Cam features a low-profile design and a large screen. Although the screen may add to the size of the dash cam itself, it benefits the driver when they want to review footage.

You can see how the Rexing V1 performed in each of our testing categories below:

Review Category Score
(Out of
5.0 Stars)
Our Testing Highlights
Ease of Installation 4.0 The Rexing was easy to install as it uses an adhesive mount. You can adjust the camera up and down after installation, but you can’t move it from left to right.
Video Quality 4.5 In terms of video quality, the Rexing V1 was one of the best in class. The details of license plates and other objects on the road came out clearly after downloading the footage.
User Experience 4.0 The large LCD screen and buttons positioned below the screen make reviewing video footage and navigating through different screens on your dash cam exceptionally easy.
Overall Rating 4.2 A budget dash cam that handles heat well and has great GPS technology.

Below are the pros and cons of the Rexing Dash Cam V1:

Pros
  • Can withstand extreme temperatures
  • Utilizes GPS software powered by Google Maps
  • Features a built-in gravity sensor
Cons
  • Cannot adjust left to right once installed
  • Doesn’t come with a memory card
Rexing Dash Cam V1 attached to windshield

In our experience, the Rexing V1 Dash Cam was a pleasure to work with. Furthermore, the dash cam’s app was quite user-friendly. We do wish the LCD screen was a touchscreen, as this would make navigating the menus much easier.

Rexing Dash Cam V1 sample footage

The majority of customers rave over the dash cam’s video quality with one reviewer claiming the footage this dash cam captured resulted in him receiving $1,500 in damages. Other reviewers like the quick attach and detach system.

Several reviewers note that the only way to power the Rexing is using the included cord that inserts into a 12.0-volt car socket (cigarette lighter). Some newer vehicles do not have such an outlet, at least not located near the front console, rendering this dash cam unusable.

6. Vantrue E1 Lite

Vantrue E1 Lite
vantrue dash cam
  • Cost: $89.99
  • Amazon review score: 4.3 out of 5.0 based on more than 1,700 ratings
  • Max recording resolution: 1080p
  • Mounting style: Sticky
  • Rear-facing camera included?: No

The E1 Lite is an easy-to-use dash cam with excellent low-light performance. Though the recording resolution is relatively low (1080p), this camera has excellent image sensors, resulting in crisper nighttime video than even some cameras that offer a higher overall resolution.

You can see how the Vantrue E1 performed in each of our testing categories below:

Review Category Score
(Out of
5.0 Stars)
Our Testing Highlights
Ease of Installation 4.5 We had no issues installing the Vantrue E1 Lite dash cam. It is very small and easy to tuck behind a rearview mirror.
Video Quality 4.0 The Vantrue E1 Lite records at 1080p but looks excellent considering this relatively low resolution. The high dynamic range makes it easy to make out vehicles and license plates.
User Experience 4.0 You can control the E1 Lite using buttons on the camera or by using the app. The buttons aren’t very intuitive, but the functions are explained in the user manual.
Overall Rating 4.2 The Vantrue E1 is an easy-to-use budget dash cam with good low-light performance.

Below are the pros and cons of the Vantrue E1 Lite Dash Cam:

Pros
  • USB-C charging
  • Offers voice control for hands-free commands
  • Features four types of parking mode
Cons
  • Low recording resolution
  • Memory card sold separately
  • Easier to control via the app than the buttons
vantrue dash cam

Overall, the Vantrue E1 Lite is a solid budget dash cam to consider. While we were impressed with our ability to read license plates through downloaded footage, a higher-definition camera would make this even easier. One thing we thought worth noting is the ease of controlling this camera using the Vantrue app.

vantrue dash cam in action

Customers are impressed by the video quality considering the low price. Another thing users like about this dash cam is the small size. A couple of reviewers complain that the recording angle (160 degrees) is too narrow, failing to capture as much of the road as they would like.

7. Nexar Scosche NEXS1

Nexar Scosche NEXS1
scosche dash cam
  • Cost: $49.99
  • Amazon review score: 3.4 out of 5.0 based on more than 80 ratings
  • Max recording resolution: 1080p
  • Mounting style: Both suction and sticky options
  • Rear-facing camera included?: No

Nexar makes some of the most user-friendly dash cams for those who don’t feel tech-savvy. The Scosche NEXS1 dash cam is designed to be as easy to use as possible by including no confusing buttons, coming with a micro SD card, and functioning through a simple app.

The Scosche NEXS1 is a minimalist option with excellent dynamic range. It uses a Sony Starvis sensor, which can produce some of the crispest nighttime image quality.

You can see how the Scosche NEXS1 performed in each of our testing categories below:

Review Category Score
(Out of
5.0 Stars)
Our Testing Highlights
Ease of Installation 4.0 The NEXS1 isn’t hard to install, but the adhesive mount doesn’t allow for side-to-side adjustment. The charging port allows for powering the dash cam and another device together.
Video Quality 3.5 While the video quality isn’t poor, it isn’t quite as good as some of the other budget dash cams on this list. That said, it is good enough to make out license plates and more.
User Experience 4.5 As with all Nexar products, the NEXS1 is designed with ease of use in mind. The camera has two buttons (one for power, one to sync with your phone), but there is no screen.
Overall Rating 4.0 The NEXS1 is a solid budget dash cam to consider if you don’t want to break the bank.

Below are the pros and cons of the Scosche NEXS1:

Pros
  • Features a Sony Starvis sensor
  • All videos are backed up to an unlimited Nexar cloud for free
  • Offers emergency alerts to friends and family
Cons
  • Difficult to adjust once installed
  • Some customers report issues with customer support
scosche dash cam in car

While the Nexar Scosche NEXS1 doesn’t offer side-to-side movement, this is fixed if you opt for the suction mount, though this option pushes the total cost just north of $100. The cigarette charging port has two USB outputs so you can power the NEXS1 and a smartphone at the same time.

A red light lets you know the camera is on and recording. The app is simple to navigate and stripped down to include only the most important information and features for those concerned with saving clips for insurance filing.

scosche dash cam in action

Those who like this camera say that it is simple and easy to use, especially compared to some more expensive alternatives. Those who want a dash cam that simply works and allows you to easily download videos to their phone prefer this dash cam.

Some people complain about Scosche customer support. At least one reviewer complained that it took weeks to get a response after reaching out with a complaint.


Budget Dash Cam Buying Guide

Dash cams under $100 are more basic by design due to their lower price point, but they can still offer impressive features.

Front and Rear Cameras

Only one dash cam that we tested featured both front and rear-facing cameras, the Z-Edge Z3Pro. This dash cam was unequivocally the best budget dash cam, mainly thanks to the inclusion of both cameras. For those who work in the rideshare industry—Uber or Lyft for example—a dash cam is a necessary piece of equipment, especially a dash cam with a camera that faces the cabin of the car.

A rear-facing camera can capture all of the activity that happens within the confines of a car’s interior, allowing a driver to monitor anything happening around them. Beyond its use in the rideshare industry, dash cams with front and rear cameras can capture the impact of a crash or collision on a driver, furthering the impact of dash cam footage if reviewed in a court of law.

Night Vision

All of the budget dash cams featured in this review have night vision and can effectively record footage in low-light conditions. If the majority of your driving is at night or if you simply want a dash cam that can record high-quality videos in all lighting scenarios, then you’ll want to look for a dash cam under $100 that includes this feature.

Can Dash Cam Footage Be Used In Court? 

For dash cam footage to be used in court, it needs to meet a few benchmarks first. 

Barry P. Goldberg, a California-based attorney, says strong dash cam footage shouldn’t be edited or altered if it wants to be admissible in a courtroom. He added that video has a stronger case when it is high quality and includes information such as time stamps and GPS coordinates. 

And while dash cam footage does have the ability to show fault, Goldberg noted some important factors that drivers need to be aware of if they want to use dash cam footage in a personal injury case.

“It should ideally capture the lead-up to the accident, the collision itself, and possibly even the aftermath,” according to Goldberg. “A clear view of the road, including traffic signals and surrounding vehicles, is crucial.”

And dash cams aren’t the only source of footage courtrooms are seeing. According to Illinois-based attorney Josh Rohrscheib, dash cam footage has become increasingly pivotal in traffic court cases. But Rohrschieb says attorneys are looking for relevant video evidence from any source that clearly shows what happened during an incident. 

“In addition to dash cams, we also look for footage from intersection cameras, neighboring buildings, and even residential devices like Ring cameras,” Rohrscheib said.

Traffic Court Or A Personal Injury Case? 

Whether you’re in a car crash or simply received a speeding ticket, you should know the different places dash cam footage may be used.

  • Traffic court: Traffic court usually only takes a day to be resolved and is reserved for minor offenses like speeding tickets, running a red light, or driving with an expired vehicle registration.
  • Personal injury case: These are civil cases reserved for serious physical or mental trauma stemming from incidents like a car crash or workplace injuries. The length of a personal injury case can take anywhere from months to years before being settled.

Compare Budget Dash Cams

Brand/ModelMax Recording ResolutionRear Facing Camera?Mounting Style
Z-Edge Z3Pro2KYesSuction
Kingslim D54KNo (sold separately)Sticky
70mai Smart Dash1080pNoSticky
Galphi 2K1440pYesSuction
Rexing V12KNoSticky
Vantrue E1 Lite1080pNoSticky
Scosche NEXS11080pNoSuction or sticky


Best Budget Dash Cams: Bottom Line

  1. Best Budget Dash Cam: Z-Edge Z3Pro
  2. Best Budget 4K Dash Cam: Kingslim D5
  3. Best Budget Dash Cam Under $50: 70mai Smart Dash
  4. Best Budget Dash Cam Front and Rear: Galphi 2K
  5. Best Budget Dash Cam with GPS: Rexing V1
  6. Vantrue E1 Lite
  7. Scosche NEXS1

Budget Dash Cams: FAQ

Below are some common frequently asked questions about budget dash cams: 

Which budget dash cam is best?

After thorough research, rigorous testing, and an unbiased review, our product testing team strongly believes that the Z-Edge Z3Pro is the best dash cam under $100.

Which dash cam has the best reviews?

According to our review team’s research, the Galphi Dash cam has the best reviews out of all of the budget dash cams that we researched and tested. However, the Rexing Dash Cam V1 is the most well-reviewed dash cam.

Are dash cams worth it?

Yes, dash cams are worth it for many drivers. Dash cams give drivers proof of what occurred on the road in the case of an accident or a collision. Most dash cams record video, while some can even record audio to provide full documentation of an accident occurring.


Best Budget Dash Cam: How We Tested

Our team tested over a dozen budget dash cams by installing them in a vehicle and taking a spin. We are sure to test every feature as well as the companion apps. We also review the footage collected to compare video quality. Each budget dash cam is given a rating for the following criteria:

Ease of Installation

To test ease of installation, our team members went through the process of installing and setting up the dash cam in a vehicle, noting which components proved more difficult than others to attach to the camera and windshield.

Dash cams that set up quickly score best in this category.

Video Quality

Video quality is among the most important characteristics of a dash cam. We tested video quality by capturing both pictures and videos with the dash cams and scrutinized the images on a PC. We tested both daytime and nighttime video qualities.

Dash cams that offer the crispest video and which best capture license plate detail score best in this category.

User Experience

Our team tested for user experience by connecting to the dash cam via a mobile app and seeing how easy it was to save photos and videos.

Dash cams with an intuitive interface that quickly connect and are easy to interact with score best in this category.

How We Score Budget Dash Cams

Every budget dash cam we test is given a score between 1.0 and 5.0 stars in each category. What those star ratings mean in concrete terms is described below. Note that our scoring system for budget dash cams is different than how we score dash cams more generally because we take into account what is typical for dash cams under $100:

  • 5.0 Stars: A 5.0-star rating means a budget dash cam is among the best in a category. It offers 4K video quality, is installed in minutes, or offers a seamless user experience with no reports of difficulty accessing footage.
  • 4.0 Stars: A 4.0-star rating means a budget dash cam performs better than average in a category. It records at least 1080p video quality while providing a clear view of license plates during the day, is installed in under 10 minutes with ease, or allows for easily-accessible review of footage through the app.
  • 3.0 Stars: A 3.0-star rating indicates what is average or typical for a budget dash cam, based on our testing experience. It records at 1080p or lower, with poor low-light resolution, can be installed in half an hour, or has a functioning smartphone app.
  • 2.0 Stars: A 2.0-star rating indicates the budget dash cam performs below expectations in a category. It offers poor recording quality, even during the day, is difficult to install, or does not have an easy way to access footage.
  • 1.0 Star: A 1.0-star rating indicates that the budget dash cam is well below expectations in a category. It records illegible video, may damage your vehicle upon installation, or fails to record video with any consistency.

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*Data accurate at time of publication. Products subject to availability.