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There are several reasons you may want a dash cam: for insurance claims, to monitor your vehicle while parked, or to save a video memory of a road trip. The best dash cams capture clear video and are easy to install and operate. If you’re in the market for a dash cam and don’t know where to begin, read this guide to learn about our top recommendations.

Our review team scrutinized hundreds of Amazon customer reviews and thoroughly tested each dash cam model. We rated each of our recommendations according to our review standards, which consider the most important features for a dash cam.

In this article:

 

5 Best Dash Cams

 

Our Review Standards

The dash cams in this article went through two rounds of reviews. We started by searching Amazon for top products, considering factors like customer ratings, Amazon superlatives, and price. We also selected products that meet a range of uses and budgets.

The five dash cams we selected were tested for:

  • Ease of installation: You can have a professional install your dash cam, but it is less expensive to install the dash cam yourself. We set up each dash cam in a car according to the instructions included with the product. Dash cams with clear, concise instructions and an easy setup process score best in this category. Note that while ease of installation matters, we gave this score the least weight in our overall rating since we think other categories are slightly more important.
  • Video quality: Video quality is perhaps a dash cam’s most important feature. We considered resolution, frame rate, and field of view for this category. We took each camera for a brief test drive both during the day and at night. Afterward, we uploaded and reviewed the footage to evaluate how easily (if at all) you can read license plates and make out important details.
  • User interface (UX): To get the most from a dash cam, it should be easy to operate the camera and retrieve saved video. Some dash cams have an intuitive touch screen design while others have clunky menus that are difficult to navigate.
  • Extra features: We considered each dash cam’s features beyond simple recording. Those with tools that can improve the utility of your dash cam such as GPS, voice control, and event detection scored well in this category.

 


 

Best Overall Dash Cam: Kingslim D4 Dual Dash Cam

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The Kingslim D4 Dual Dash Cam is our top pick overall. This moderately priced dash cam offers top-of-the-line video resolution and the touch screen makes for an easy-to-use interface.

Key Features

  • Max Recording Resolution: 4K (front), 1080p (rear)
  • Frame Rate: 30 fps
  • Field of View: 170 degrees (front), 150 degrees (rear)
  • Operating Temperature: -4°F to 140°F
  • GPS: Yes
  • Mounting Style: Adhesive mount
  • Cost: $110-$120*

*Price accurate at time of publication.

What’s In The Box

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The Kingslim D4 Dual Dash Cam comes with both a front and rear camera as well as everything needed to install these cameras in your car, including:

  • GPS bracket
  • Rear camera extension cable
  • Charger
  • 2 static stickers
  • Double-sided adhesive tape (2 strips for GPS, 4 for rear camera)
  • Plastic upholstery crowbar
  • 5 cable clips

What is noticeably absent from the box is a cable to connect the camera to a computer. The Kingslim can connect to your phone through Wi-Fi and the app allows you to download saved videos. However, downloading 4K video this way can take some time and is much slower than connecting the camera to your computer.

To upload video directly to your computer you will need a mini USB (type A) cable. This kind of cable is fairly common and you may already have one if you own a digital camera. The Kingslim also does not include a class 10 micro SD card. Dash cams require micro SD cards to save footage but rarely include them with the product.

Our Experience

Once installed, the Kingslim demonstrated the best daytime video quality of any of the cameras we tested. Not only does the Kingslim have a wide field of view, but the rear-facing camera provides total vehicle coverage. Considering the relatively low cost for a dash cam, recommending the Kingslim is a no-brainer.

Ease of Installation: 3 out of 5

Installation is where the Kingslim scores lowest. While it is our top-recommended camera because of its performance in our other review categories, it had a more involved installation process.

This is in part due to the Kingslim having two cameras. The rear dash cam can be attached inside your rear windshield or outside your car above the license plate. Either way, you will need to run a cable from the rear camera to the front camera. To hide these cables, you’ll need to pull back your vehicle’s upholstery, which can be a bit of a chore.

The Kingslim cameras attach to your car via adhesive mounts. The camera can be slotted in and out of the mount once attached, but removing the camera can be difficult. It’s also challenging to adjust the camera after the adhesive is placed. You can easily tilt the camera up and down, but you cannot adjust it left and right after the adhesive has been applied.

Video Quality: 4.5 out of 5

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(Image taken from Kingslim D4 Dual Dash Cam and cropped for web viewing.)

The Kingslim’s video clarity is impressive for a camera in this price range. It is easy to make out license plate numbers even from a significant distance. The wide field of view encompassed just about everything ahead of us on the road.

The rear camera’s resolution is noticeably lower, but still serviceable. Between the two cameras, the total coverage and clarity of video are good for insurance purposes and clearly seeing what’s on the road. If you plan to make a quality road trip video, the Kingslim is a good choice.

User Interface: 5 out of 5

The Kingslim has the best user interface of any device we tested. The camera features a touch screen, which makes it easy to navigate. Because most modern devices operate via touch screen, it’s easy to take this feature for granted. However, we tested several dash cams that do not use a touch screen, which highlighted how easy the Kingslim’s interface in particular is to use.

The menus are simple and intuitive. Users can adjust video resolution, event detection sensitivity, loop recording time, and more. The Kingslim manual explains how each of these functions works.

Extra Features: 4.5 out of 5

The Kingslim hosts a variety of useful features beyond good picture quality. The touch screen and app support make it an easy product to use overall. The Kingslim has a built-in GPS as well, which is especially useful for insurance purposes. It can be used to show where you were as well as the speed you were driving.

The Kingslim records in loops (the interval time can be adjusted in the settings). Once the camera’s memory card is full, it records over the oldest loop that hasn’t been locked. Users can lock a loop manually after an accident by pressing a button. The Kingslim will automatically lock videos if sudden braking or an impact is detected.

While the car is parked, the camera will turn off. The Kingslim has an event detection feature that causes the camera to record if an impact is detected. The sensitivity of this feature can be adjusted in the menu.

What Customers Are Saying

The Kingslim has an average Amazon score of 4.5 out of 5.0 based on more than 3,900 reviews. The dash cam received 4.0 stars or higher from 87 percent of reviewers. Customers are happy with the touch screen feature, image quality, and general utility of the camera.

“Nothing not to like about this camera, [the] picture is very clear, [the] quality is good, and [it is] very easy to install. When you park the camera still detects movement.”

- Janet O’Connor, via Amazon

A few customers noted that the camera sometimes beeps continuously after you power your car off and found that annoying.

What Is It Good For?

If you are looking for a reasonably priced dash cam that records high-definition video, consider the Kingslim D4 Dual Dash Cam. The Kingslim is simple to use and suitable for a beginner. The only aspect of the Kingslim we don’t like is that it can be a bit of a hassle to install.

 


 

Best Dash Cam for Night Use: Vantrue N2S

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The Vantrue N2S is an excellent all-around dash cam with high recording resolution. The camera mounts on your front windshield and features a rear-facing camera that looks into the cabin. 

Key Features

  • Max Recording Resolution: 2160p
  • Frame Rate: 30 fps
  • Field of View: 155 degrees
  • Operating Temperature: 14°F to 158°F
  • GPS: Yes
  • Mounting Style: Suction cup
  • Cost: $210-$220*

*Price accurate at time of publication.

What’s In The Box

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The Vantrue includes everything you need to install the camera. This includes:

  • Car charger
  • Suction mount
  • USB-C cable
  • Plastic upholstery crowbar

It would be nice if the Vantrue included clips to help tuck the power cable into the upholstery. The camera also requires a class 10 micro SD card to record and store video, which is not included with the product.

Our Experience

There’s a lot to love about the Vantrue N2S, and we found it offers similar video quality to the Kingslim. The camera also looks great and the horizontal design makes it easy to hide behind your rearview mirror.

Ease of Installation: 4.5 out of 5

The Vantrue is as easy to install as a dash cam could be. The camera attaches to your interior windshield via a suction mount, which is much easier to install and adjust than an adhesive mount. The Vantrue can clip and unclip from the suction mount. If you have trouble unclipping the Vantrue, you can always remove the mount itself, unlike with an adhesive mount. The camera swivels in place once the suction cup is applied, so it can easily be adjusted to capture the perfect view.

The only hassle that comes with installing the Vantrue is tucking the power cable into the upholstery. However, you will encounter this issue with any dash cam that isn’t built into the car or entirely battery-powered.

Video Quality: 4.5 out of 5

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(Image taken from Vantrue N2S and cropped for web viewing.)

The Vantrue’s video quality is comparable to the Kingslim’s. It captures crystal-clear picture, and license plate numbers can be easily identified in the footage. What makes the Vantrue further  stand out is the infrared night vision mode, which is extremely useful when driving at night in an area that is not well lit.

User Interface: 3.5 out of 5

Unlike the Kingslim, the Vantrue does not have a touch screen. This can make the menus  somewhat of a pain to navigate. While the UX is not intuitive, we were able to figure it out after reading through the user manual and fiddling with the buttons for about 10 minutes.

Many of the camera’s settings can be changed, including the resolution, exposure, and loop recording duration. You can also adjust the sensitivity of the motion and impact detectors.

Extra Features: 4 out of 5

While the Vantrue lacks an app and a touch screen, the camera’s other features make up for this. However, if smartphone integration is important to you, you may want to consider a different product.

The suction mount has a built-in GPS that can be used to record your speed and location. The camera also has collision and motion detection features that will automatically save footage after an event has been detected. The sensitivity of these settings can be adjusted in the camera’s menu.

Our favorite features of the Vantrue are the rear-facing camera and the infrared option. While the rear-facing camera may be able to record events through a back windshield, it primarily records your car’s interior. This could be useful for rideshare drivers or recording a road trip. The infrared feature is able to capture a high level of detail when driving in the dark, so you’ll never have to worry about unclear footage if an event happens at night.

Finally, the camera has a parking mode that detects motion and will activate and save the footage if something disturbs your vehicle.

What Customers Are Saying

The Vantrue N2S has an average Amazon rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 based on more than 250 reviews. The product received 4.0 stars or higher from 87 percent of reviewers. Reviewers have praised the camera’s picture quality and wide dynamic range (its ability to record high- and low-light areas).

The camera’s LCD screen can be turned off while driving, but there is a blinking red light that some drivers have found distracting. However, it is easy to place this camera in such a way that this light is out of view.

What Is It Good For?

We recommend the Vantrue N2S for those who often drive at night or in dark areas. It’s especially helpful if you drive in a more rural community with less light. The camera records the highest-quality nighttime video of all the products we tested, and the infrared function can be used to get even better images in especially dark situations.

The cabin-facing camera might also be useful for Uber or Lyft drivers.

 


 

Best Budget Dash Cam: Apeman C450 Dash Cam

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The Apeman C450 is easy to set up and use. While the video quality isn’t as good as the other cameras on this list, the Apeman gets the job done and is a fraction of the cost of other options.

Key Features

  • Max Recording Resolution: 1080p
  • Frame Rate: 30 fps
  • Field of View: 170 degrees
  • Operating Temperature: 14°F to 140°F
  • GPS: No
  • Mounting Style: Suction cup or adhesive mount
  • Cost: $40-$50*

*Price accurate at time of publication.

What’s In The Box

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The Apeman C450 camera also comes with:

  • Suction mount
  • Adhesive mount
  • Mini USB (type A)
  • Car charger
  • Plastic upholstery crowbar

Most cameras include either a suction mount or an adhesive mount, but both can be used with the Apeman. Generally, we found suction mounts to be better, but the flexibility to choose if you prefer one or the other is helpful.

The Apeman does not include the required class 10 micro SD card.

Our Experience

The first thing we noticed about the Apeman was how easy it is to install and use. Considering the low cost (around $50), we were impressed by the interface and features.

Ease of Installation: 4.5 out of 5

Suction-mounted cameras are the easiest to install and set up. With the Apeman, all you need to do is attach the suction cup to your windshield and plug the power cord into your vehicle’s auxiliary output (cigarette lighter).

As with any dash cam, there are some wires you may want to tuck under your car’s upholstery. The Apeman does not come with clips to make this process easier.

Video Quality: 3.5 out of 5

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(Image taken from Apeman C450 and cropped for web viewing.)

The Apeman has noticeably lower video quality than the Kingslim or Vantrue. Unless a car is directly in front of you, it can be hard to make out small details like license plate numbers. However, the recording quality is good enough to clearly make out other details sufficient for insurance purposes.

User Interface: 4 out of 5

The Apeman C450 interface is simple to use, although it does not use a touch screen. From the camera’s menu you can save and record video as well as watch playback.

Extra Features: 3.5 out of 5

While the Apeman doesn’t boast as many features as some other cameras on this list, it does include standard extras like motion detection, collision detection, and a sentry mode while your vehicle is parked. We tested the motion detection feature of every camera that includes it, and the Apeman proved the most sensitive.

What Customers Are Saying

The Apeman C450 currently has very few reviews on Amazon, though the ones it has are mostly positive. It holds a 4.6 rating out of 5.0, and 90% of reviewers gave the product 5.0 stars. Reviewers are happy that the camera is so easy to use.

What Is It Good For?

Buy this camera if you are looking for a low-budget option to dip your toe into the dash cam market. If you are considering a dash camera but aren’t sure what features you may want, consider the Apeman over a pricier model. It is very easy to use and install. One of this camera’s few drawbacks is the video resolution isn’t as high as other models.

If you want a cheap option to easily document what happens around your car while you’re driving, the Apeman is a good choice.

 


 

Garmin Dash Cam 56

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The Garmin Dash Cam 56 is a low-profile option and the smallest of the cameras we tested. Despite it’s compact size, the Garmin features high-resolution video and useful features like GPS and event detection.

Key Features

  • Max Recording Resolution: 1440p
  • Frame Rate: 60 fps
  • Field of View: 140 degrees
  • Operating Temperature: -4°F to 131°F
  • GPS: Yes
  • Mounting Style: Adhesive magnet mount
  • Cost: $160-$170*

*Price accurate at time of publication.

What’s In The Box

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Included with the Garmin Dash Cam 56 are:

  • 2 micro USB cables (type B)
  • 2 sticky magnets
  • Car auxiliary to dual USB port

There are no tools for tucking the cables into your car’s upholstery, though this should be possible even without the small plastic crowbar that other dash cam kits typically include. As with every other camera on this list, the Garmin does not include the required class 10 micro SD card.

Our Experience

The Garmin Dash Cam 56 offers one of the best user experiences and has the best app integration of any camera that we tested. We found the video quality to be high and the voice command function to be very useful.

Ease of Installation: 4.5 out of 5

The Garmin uses an adhesive mount for installation, and we found its mount system to be better than other adhesive mounts we tested. Rather than a large plastic piece that the camera clips into (like other models use), the Garmin attaches to an adhesive magnet. The Garmin connects to the magnet via a ball and socket swivel, which is easily adjusted in all directions.

Installing the camera is simple, though you may struggle with hiding the cables if you don’t get some clips or ties to help you tuck it under the upholstery.

Video Quality: 4 out of 5

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(Image taken from Garmin Dash Cam 56 and cropped for web viewing.)

For such a small camera, the Garmin Dash Cam 56 has excellent picture quality. While it doesn’t quite match the Kingslim or Vantrue in resolution, it boasts an exceptionally high frame rate. This means you’ll be able to better make out details while your car is moving at higher speeds. The picture is good enough to identify license plate details in many cases.

The Garmin is a bit limited when it comes to the field of view. If this is a concern, you can purchase the Garmin Dash Cam 66, which is identical to the 56 in every regard except that it has a 180-degree field of view. This camera is about 50% more expensive than the 56 model, which is why we recommend the latter.

User Interface: 5 out of 5

While the Garmin lacks the touch screen capabilities of the Kingslim, it has a feature that more than makes up for it: voice command. You can issue a number of voice commands to save video and begin or stop a timelapse video. This incredibly convenient feature means you don’t even need to take your hands off the wheel to save your video after an event.

The Garmin can also connect to your smartphone and is controllable through the app. You can even connect multiple Garmin cameras to the same app.

Extra Features: 4 out of 5

In addition to voice control and multi-camera network capabilities through the Garmin dash cam app, the Garmin Dash Cam 56 has event detection and several warning features. The Garmin 56 can alert you in real time if:

  • You are too close to the car in front of you
  • You cross a lane boundary
  • Traffic starts moving after a stop

The Garmin can also play a tone and display the speed limit if it detects a speed camera or a red light.

What Customers Are Saying

The Garmin Dash Cam 56 has an Amazon review score of 4.5 out of 5.0 based on over 3,300 reviews. It received 4.0 stars or higher from 87 percent of reviewers. Positive reviews mention the image quality and Garmin customer service support. Setup and use are also called out as being simple and effective.

Some reviewers have complained about the adhesive falling off. This is an issue with any adhesive mount, especially if you live in an area that experiences high temperatures. You can always purchase your own stronger adhesive to keep the magnet mount in place.

What Is It Good For?

This is a simple-to-use, high-resolution camera. While it doesn’t reach the same level of picture quality as a 4K video, it is good enough to make out license plates and details for insurance purposes. One of the drawbacks of this camera is the narrow field of view, which shouldn’t be an issue for smaller cars. If you need wider vision, you can either upgrade to the Garmin 66 or go with a different dash cam.

We think the Garmin is a good option for those who require a low-profile camera or if you plan to link multiple cameras together (for example, if you want to monitor a fleet of vehicles or multiple cars).

 


 

Rexing Dash Cam V1

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The Rexing Dash Cam V1 rounds out our list. While the camera lacks some of the extra features others include, it’s hard to find a camera with better picture quality for the price (but not impossible – see the Kingslim).

Key Features

  • Max Recording Resolution: 1440p
  • Frame Rate: 30 fps
  • Field of View: 140 degrees
  • Operating Temperature: -4°F to 131°F
  • GPS: Requires GPS extension, sold separately for around $25-$30
  • Mounting Style: Adhesive magnet mount
  • Cost: $160-$170*

*Price accurate at time of publication.

What’s In The Box

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The Rexing Dash Cam V1 comes with:

  • Car charger
  • Dash cam mount plate
  • Mini USB (type A)
  • Plastic upholstery crowbar
  • Cable clips

Like other dash cams, the Rexing does not include the required class 10 micro SD card. It also does not include the attachments necessary to use the GPS or parking monitor functions.

Our Experience

The Rexing Dash Cam V1 features a unique design and excellent image quality. It has a larger screen than most models, which gives it a higher profile but makes reviewing footage on the camera itself easier.

Ease of Installation: 4 out of 5

The Rexing is easy enough to install, but it uses an adhesive mount. Once the adhesive is applied, it is difficult to adjust the camera left and right. A knob on the side moves the camera lens up and down.

Video Quality: 4 out of 5

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(Image taken from Rexing Dash Cam V1 and cropped for web viewing.)

The Rexing’s picture quality is high but not quite as crisp as the Kingslim. The Rexing rivals the Vantrue during the day (at night, the Vantrue is champ). We were able to make out license plate details of cars we passed by in the footage, even with a moderate glare on the windshield.

User Interface: 4 out of 5

The buttons on the Rexing are a little easier to use than those on other dash cams. They are larger and more clearly labeled, which made operating the device more straightforward. The menu can be used to adjust recording settings, take pictures, and play back recorded video.

Extra Features: 3 out of 5

Out of the box, the Rexing doesn’t have many features. You can purchase attachments that add a GPS function and a parking monitor. Neither add-on is especially expensive, but they do bump up the final sticker price.

The Rexing does include Wi-Fi capabilities and can connect to your smartphone via an app, which can be used to control the camera and download video.

What Customers Are Saying

Reviewers on Amazon give the Rexing Dash Cam V1 an average score of 4.4 out of 5.0 based on over 13,400 reviews. It received 4.0 stars or higher from 85 percent of reviewers. Several customers highlighted how helpful the Rexing was after an insurance incident. While the camera is a little bulkier than other models, many noted that it is still easily hidden behind the rearview mirror.

“The camera has lasted almost a full year. This includes pretty harsh summers and winters.”

- Hachi Roku, via Amazon

Some have complained about the camera failing to record at critical moments. There is a light that indicates when the camera is recording, so it may be best to double-check that it’s on before heading out. Other negative reviews complain about the Wi-Fi capabilities being slow or not connecting. We did not experience any issues with the camera’s Wi-Fi connectivity.

What Is It Good For?

This camera’s operating temperature range stands above the others on this list. While we have not independently verified the camera’s ability to hold up to extreme temperatures, several Amazon reviewers have noted the device continues to work well in both cold and heat. If you live in an especially extreme environment, the Rexing may be your best bet for a camera that doesn’t overheat or break down.

 


 

Dash Cam Testing Process

We installed each dash cam into a vehicle and took it for a test drive. We tried each feature offered by the dash cam, including motion detection and smartphone app functionality.

What is important in a dash cam is that you can easily set it up and record and download video. We recorded short drives both during the day and at night and reviewed the footage, paying attention to details such as license plate legibility. Using the dash cams in this way also gave us a feel for how easy the cameras are to operate.

 


 

Dash Cam Buyer’s Guide

Most dash cams are designed to continuously record your surroundings while driving. They are mini CCTVs that are useful if you get into an accident or if your car is damaged or broken into in a parking lot. Which dash cam is best for you will depend on your needs and your budget. Generally, you’ll want to consider the following:

  • Camera resolution: The highest-quality dash cams can record in full HD 4K resolution. The lowest-resolution dash cam you’ll probably want to purchase records at 1080p. Anything below that begins to get very grainy. Reviewing low-resolution footage can still be useful for insurance claims, but you won’t be able to identify plate information if there is a hit-and-run.
  • Frame rate: Most dash cams record at 30 frames per second (fps) or more. Anything below that is not advisable. If you’re trying to shoot professional-looking video, you may want something that can shoot 60 fps. For the majority of dash cam users, 30 fps is enough.
  • Night vision: How well the camera performs in the dark can be important, especially if you frequently drive at night or in the countryside where there is less light. A camera that has infrared or night vision may be desirable in these cases.
  • Mounting style: We think that the suction cup mounting style is generally better than an adhesive mount. Suction mounts are easier to apply and remove. Adhesive mounts can fall off in the heat and are more difficult to adjust.
  • Temperature range: Not all cameras work well in the heat. Because they are inside your car, dash cams can get very hot. If you live somewhere with extreme temperatures, make sure to look for a camera that is rated to operate in that range.

Before choosing a dash cam, consider how you will use it. Most people use a dash cam for surveillance while parked, insurance purposes, personal videos, or trips as a rideshare driver. Your needs may be different.

Rideshare drivers may want a camera like the Vantrue N2S because it features a cabin camera. If you are recording your trip for insurance, you may want a cheaper model that is low profile. If you want to put cameras in multiple vehicles, consider the Garmin 56, as several Garmins can be connected and managed in the same app.

If you’re recording a video for personal or creative reasons, you may want a camera with a higher resolution and frame rate.

 


 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best dash cam?

While there is no single best dash cam for every purpose, we think the Kingslim D4 Dual Dash Cam is the best all-around dash cam. It has excellent resolution and an easy-to-use interface, and it is not especially expensive.

Are dash cams legal?

While it is legal to record video on public roads, it is not legal in every state to attach objects to your windshield (as many dash cams are). You will need to check your state laws.

In most states, dash cams are allowed as long as they are installed in a way that does not obstruct the driver’s view of the road.

What is the best affordable dash cam?

Our pick for the best budget dash cam is the Apeman C450 Dash Cam. It costs around $50 and offers high-quality recording.

What should I look for when buying a dash cam?

The best dash cam for you depends on your needs. Generally, you should make sure the dash cam records at least 1080p, though 4K recording is preferable if you want to be able to make out license plate details when reviewing video footage. Also consider how the camera is installed – some dash cams are easy to install with a suction mount while others require a little more work.

Are dash cams worth it?

A dash cam can be worth it if you have a special reason to monitor your vehicle. If you are involved in an accident, it can be hard to prove you were not at least partially at fault. In many states, an insurance company may reject your claim without better evidence than your word (when filing against another driver’s liability insurance). Dash cam footage is often the best proof of exactly what happened.

Since many insurance deductibles are $200 or higher (if you have to file with your own insurer), a dash cam can pay for itself after a single incident.

How much does a good dash cam cost?

Our pick for best budget dash cam (the Apeman C450 Dash Cam) costs only about $50. However, for a higher-quality model that records in 4K resolution, you will probably need to spend between $150 and $200 at least.

Do I need a 4K dash cam?

If you are going to purchase a dash cam, a 4K resolution camera will provide the best image quality. However, anything 1080p or above should be good enough for most purposes. At this resolution, major details will be clear, but you may have a hard time making out smaller details such as license plate numbers.