Accidents happen instantly, and you don’t want to add to your stress by being charged for an incident that wasn’t your fault. This is where a dash cam comes in handy. By recording your movements, you will have the essential evidence if the worst happens, and it may also lower your insurance cost.
Timothy Coleman, Cameras editor
Whatever your budget, user requirements, or degree of skill, this guide has an option for you. The Next base 622GW is our top choice if money is no object, while the Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 is our affordable pick. Under each recommendation, we’ve included links to the best dash cam bargains.
We have thoroughly evaluated every dash cam in this guide and satisfies what we consider to be the basic standards, providing dash cams with sharp details and a broad field of view. At the bottom of this page, you can read more about how we test dash cameras, how to pick the best one for you, and how to get started with a dash cam. We’ve also published a helpful guide on how to install a dash cam.
To you, happy and quiet driving!
The best dash cams 2023
The Nextbase 622GW is the greatest dash cam you can buy right now, thanks to its outstanding video quality and premium feature set. In testing, we found the 4K/30p footage virtually cinematic, with clear definition and superb detail. In tricky settings, algorithms for low light and terrible weather can boost results. When you reduce the resolution to 1080p, you can capture 120fps slow-motion, which makes it simpler to identify things like registration numbers.
The setup was difficult, and the 3-inch touchscreen requires explicit swipe gestures. We also had issues connecting to our iPhones to transfer video footage. The 622GW is still a simple camera to operate in general. We found the UI to be simple and the display to be large, sharp, and clear. When an incident is identified, the footage is automatically recorded, and a large red button allows you to capture moments manually.
In our evaluation, we were impressed by how well the built-in polarizing filter minimized windscreen glare and how well the digital picture stabilization absorbed road vibrations. The 622GW can also determine the location of afflicted automobiles and communicate data to emergency vehicles owing to sophisticated what3words integration. There are less bulky choices with greater voice control, but the 622GW is our pick for a dash cam that consistently records clear 4K video.
The Garmin Mini 2 dash cam is small enough to fit behind your rearview mirror. Despite its small size, it captures in Full HD at 30fps with HDR, resulting in footage that is sharp enough to pick out critical elements like registration plates regardless of ambient light or weather conditions.
We found installation to be simple and speedy. The compact plastic arm takes up very little windscreen area, and the ball-and-socket joint allows easy repositioning. Given its tiny size, most users will permanently leave the Mini 2 in place.
The UI is similarly simple to use. Although there is no display, shortcut buttons allow you to save clips and silence the microphone with a single touch. You can modify other settings, examine recordings, and check the camera’s view using the Garmin Drive smartphone app (iOS and Android). It also aids in the ease of initial setup.
While features are limited to voice controls and a g-sensor capable of detecting collisions, we believed that GPS was the only significant omission. The Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 will leave you wanting for very little unless you require the best dash cam with driver-aid functions. It epitomizes set-and-forget technology: simple, discreet, and dependable.
The Nexar Pro is a dual-camera solution that can record video inside and outside a vehicle and is aimed at those who spend extended time behind the wheel. The setup, consisting of two cameras connected by a cable, was cool, even if it took up a lot of real screen space.
The Nexar app is at the heart of the twin camera experience: you can fine-tune settings, produce incident reports, and back up recorded video to the cloud (Nexar includes free cloud storage). Other important features include break-in alarms if someone tries to tamper with your car and GPS data logging.
Although this dash cam does not capture in 4K, we found its 1080p video quite enough. The external camera performs admirably even in tricky shooting conditions, such as heavy rain or high sunlight. There are less expensive dash cameras with fewer features to play with, but if the security of your car is important to you, the Pro is hard to beat in terms of protection and overall value.
The Vantrue E1 is an appealing dash cam that can record 2.5K video at 30fps and is neat and compact. It can also record Full HD footage at a smoother 60 frames per second for improved driving detail. In our review, the results were sharp at night and day, with true colors and acceptable noise in low light. In addition, our testing indicated that the optional polarising filter effectively lowers dashboard reflections.
The magnetic mount of the E1 works well, but the lack of sideways flexibility limits its usage if you can’t fit it in the center. If you can, it’s likely that its 160-degree angle provides a comprehensive view of what’s ahead. When installed, a tiny 1.54-inch screen provides a preview, but the smartphone app is the most useful way to alter settings.
You don’t get the driver-aid technologies in other dash cams, so you or your vehicle must identify speed cameras and potential crashes. You still have Wi-Fi and GPS connectivity, and we like how Vantrue prioritized video quality over frills.
Thinkware’s X1000 is capable yet simple to use, and it comes with everything you need to record both front and rear. We found a lot to enjoy about the X1000 during our tests. Its main feature is simplicity: with a huge 3.5-inch touchscreen and icon-based interface, it’s simple to configure and doesn’t require a smartphone partner app.
The X1000 installation required multiple sticky pads, and we felt that the user guide might have been more extensive in assisting with setup. You’ll also need to hard-wire it to gain access to all of the features, including parking surveillance, while GPS and radar detection are optional. Still, once in place, the unit looks and feels well-made.
The touchscreen can be used to adjust the capture settings, but we found that it worked well right out of the box: the results from both cameras were remarkable, with plenty of fine detail and decent dynamic range, even in dim and dark environments. The X1000 does plenty right if you want a stress-free and dependable dash cam.
The Miofive 4K dash cam is a high-spec gadget with plenty of premium features that are generously packed while maintaining a thin form factor. We found it an easy dash cam to set up and use during testing, and its horizontal form fits neatly behind the rearview mirror. Not everyone will like that it sticks in place with an adhesive pad, which is less easy to reposition than a suction cup, but it does come with an extra 3M pad.
The footage shot during our review was clean and clear in various weather conditions, thanks to a powerful Sony sensor and sharp 4K resolution. Although not necessary, the built-in 2.2-inch preview screen makes previewing recorded video in the car easy.
The Miofive’s feature set impressed us, including Wi-Fi for file transfers, a ‘Parking’ function, and built-in GPS. We found that the optional spoken driver alerts rapidly got intrusive, but they can be turned off via the app. A screen-free alternative will provide greater value, but the Miofive 4K is close to the whole dash cam package.
The Vantrue N2 Pro is a dual-lens dash cam that is very compact for a dash cam. It records a detailed view of the road ahead as well as the interior of your vehicle. It was designed with taxi drivers in mind, so it lacks many of the frills your car will likely have, such as speed camera alerts and collision warnings.
This ease of use extends to its connectivity, which we appreciated during testing. It’s a self-contained dash cam that captures events without Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or a smartphone app. The only aspect we didn’t like was the need for GPS tracking, though Vantrue does sell an aftermarket GPS windscreen attachment.
The video quality pleasantly impressed us. The cameras can capture Full HD footage in both directions, recording smooth, sharp, and clear video with adequate audio. The interior camera occasionally struggles in intense sunshine, but this is a minor flaw in an otherwise excellent performance. The front camera can also be used independently to shoot in 1440p detail.
Outside of the professional driving world, a three-camera setup needs to be more balanced. However, if you need coverage for your vehicle’s front, rear, and interior, Viofo’s package provides a lot for the money.
Because of the compact design, you may stick it in place without obstructing the windshield, albeit you must plan your location carefully because each unit is fixed using adhesive patches. The initial setup entails routing multiple wires in the car’s headliner or under the carpet, which can be tricky. The Viofo app (iOS and Android) could be more user-friendly.
In our tests, the footage from the front camera was typically adequate in most instances. Sony Starvis image sensors, which work well in low-light circumstances, are used by Viofo. However, the lower resolution compromises clarity in poor driving conditions, with fuzzy detail putting it behind the best 4K competitors. Both the interior and rear cameras have a 170-degree field of view, and the interior camera has six LEDs for infrared capabilities. In our tests, the sight inside the car remained clear even in the darkest driving conditions.
Although the A139 performs well compared to other cameras in its price range, many alternatives provide greater technology, more user-friendly apps, and touchscreens for easier interaction. Unless interior footage is required, Viofo’s own A129 4K dual dash cam is a superior option at a similar price.
The Garmin DriveCam 76 is a feature-rich solution for automobiles without an infotainment system that combines a dash cam and a sat nav. We found the 7-inch display to be easy to use throughout testing. When linked with your smartphone’s data connection, it makes Garmin’s rich mapping images easy to follow, while navigation is clear and well-timed, enhanced by real traffic updates.
The display angle and the camera lens are customizable, allowing you to find the optimal position between the road and the driver. Full HD footage is captured in HDR at 30fps, producing balanced exposure and enough detail to read license plates. We found that the stabilization wobble in the video is obvious. This distortion does not impair detail, but the footage is inferior to other Garmin dash cams.
The unit is substantially larger than many competitors, making it tricky to place without obstructing the driver’s view. You can still find cheaper dashcams if you don’t require features like smartphone notifications or weather updates. However, this is an excellent option if you want a dash cam with added smarts, such as speed camera alerts and forward collision warnings.
|Row 0 – Cell 0
|Micro SD (not included)
|Garmin Mini 2
|Micro SD (not included)
|Full HD 1080p / 720p rear
|2.5K (2592 x 1944)
|Micro SD (not included)
|MicroSD card, 32GB card included
|Mio MiVue 818
|Micro SD (not included)
|Vantrue N2 Pro
|2K (front) / 1080p rear
|170 degrees (road) / 140 degrees (cabin)
|Micro SD (not included)
|2560 x 1440p & 1080p
|170 degrees (road) / 140 degrees (cabin)
|Micro SD (not included)
|Garmin DriveCam 76
|microSD (16GB card included)
How to choose the best dash cam for you
A touchscreen display, a companion app, GPS, parking surveillance, voice control, sat nav, and what3words are just a few of the features to consider.
If you drive an older car without an infotainment system, a dash cam with sat nav is worthwhile, but there’s little purpose if your car already has sat nav. GPS position data is useful when recording occurrences, and some even contain what3words geolocation data, which provides the most precise way to pinpoint your vehicle and is quite handy if you become ill.
Getting started with a dash cam
While prior models needed the user to manually store or tag the appropriate clip in the event of an accident, new G-Sensor-based incident detection technology has taken over and now takes care of this automatically.
There are also dash cams with extra functionality, which, like any other technology, translate to a higher asking price. Aside from improved video quality, such as 4K, night vision and built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for easy file transmission may be offered.
The appeal of voice control has spread to the simple dash cam, so expect Alexa integration and other speech-activated technology at the very top of the range.
A variety of parking options are also available. When you’re out running errands, these use a time-lapse feature as a surveillance function to collect details of those annoying car park prangs.
Is it worth having a dash cam?
In addition, several dash cams include additional driver-aid capabilities. These feature warnings for nearby speed and red light cameras, as well as a prompt to notify you that the vehicle in front of you has set off – just in case you weren’t paying attention while stuck in traffic.
Finally, certain dash cams can be permanently placed and hard-wired into your vehicle, providing a consistent power supply. When used in conjunction with a special parking mode, the camera can detect impacts and record footage when the car is parked, providing useful evidence of your neighbor’s terrible parking.
Can a dash cam drain your car battery?
If you intend to use your new dashcam for security purposes, consider choosing one with motion detection and using an external power supply to make sure you don’t drain your car battery.
Is a GoPro better than a dash cam?
Are dash cams legal?
For professional drivers, this is especially the case. For example, if you’re a cab driver, you should warn customers that your vehicle is outfitted with a dash cam, especially if it’s recording audio. Several states in the United States only allow sound recording with the permission of everyone in the vehicle.
You should also consider your options thoroughly before posting any dashcam footage online. Uploading movies that identify people without their permission may violate data protection rules. When sharing dash cam footage, concealing details like license plates and faces is always best.
It’s worth noting that several European countries prohibit the usage of dash cams, so make sure you’re aware of local regulations.
What is loop recording?
How we test dash cams
Almost all dash cams may be fitted to a car without making any permanent modifications. They can be affixed to a windscreen using a suction cup or removable adhesive pad, and they can be powered by a USB port or the 12V plug available in practically all cars. To put dash cams to the test, we install them in our cars, attach them to the windscreen, and couple them with our smartphones as if we had purchased them ourselves.
We then drive at different times of day and night to test how the CAM handles diverse lighting conditions and, ideally, weather. The footage is then downloaded to a smartphone or computer and watched to determine the quality and legibility of critical elements such as vehicle registration plates. This also allows us to examine how easy (or difficult) it is to view, transfer, and preserve recorded footage.
We test how easy it is to switch off or change features like voice assistants and drive assistance systems and how easy it is to turn them off or adjust them to our specific tastes. It’s critical to swiftly and easily turn off audio recording, especially when carrying passengers who don’t want their talks recorded.
We cannot crash a vehicle to test how well the dash cam detects collisions. Instead, forcefully touching the dash cam may mimic a collision and watch what occurs when the footage is stored. A recording can also be triggered by powering the camera with a portable battery and tapping it against our desk. It may appear simple, but it works and keeps our insurance company satisfied.
A dash cam recording can sometimes be triggered by driving over a particularly forceful speed bump. In these circumstances, we discover that the camera’s g-sensor is overly sensitive and must be modified, assuming that the menu system has such an option.