Top 8 Best Dash Cams
By | Last updated: October 21, 2020

They’ve created more YouTube footage than Supercar Blondie and are responsible for finally bringing justice to that jerk who hit your parked car. Dash cams are one example of how recording technology can be placed right in the hands – and on the windshields – of anyone with a few dollars in their pocket.

We’ll leave all mention of the uncomfortable reality that most people are being filmed wherever they go these days and the relative lack of privacy once one leaves their home. Unless, of course, you lot want to debate this issue in the comments. Then, in the prophetic words of Robin Pemberton at a NASCAR pre-season meeting in 2010, have at it (within the limits of our esteemed moderators, of course).

1. Editor's Choice: Vantrue T3 Dash Cam with Radar Detection Parking Mode

In keeping with the TTAC spirit of recommending items we have actually tried instead of simply fawning over sponsored products, this dash cam from a company called Vantrue currently resides on the dashboard of your author’s recently purchased 2018 Challenger R/T Shaker with a manual transmission.

Easy to set up and use, the Vantrue T3 has a built-in G sensor to start recording if someone bumps your car in the dead of night (or middle of the day, for that matter). Power for the unit can be harvested from a 12V socket or the OBD port with the latter being easier on your car battery if you keep the cam on overnight. Wide angle footage is easy to access and save to another drive.

Pros/Excellent quality, clear video, easy to use
Cons/Tinfoil hats will balk at an OBD connection
Bottom Line/Highly recommended

2. Nextbase 422GW 2.5" HD Dash Cam

Record your journey on the road – and unfortunate interactions with ne’er-do-wells – with this 1440p/30fps HD dash cam. View footage and share it with the gendarmes using free MyNextbase cloud storage. Nextbase cameras are equipped with night vision tech to record at all hours of the day.

A tiny 2.5-inch viewer provides touchscreen functionality which can be handy on the road. The 422GW is a sleek unit with compact proportions that should easily tuck away and out of sight behind your rearview mirror.

Pros/Touch screen operation, compact size
Cons/Reports of flaky Alexa integration
Bottom Line/Another good offering from a major name

3. Garmin Dash Cam Mini

Turns out that long-time makers of windshield mounted GPS units are also pretty good at making windshield mounted dash cams. Who’da thunk? Garmin promotes this Mini as sized roughly the size of a car key, though they’re speaking of the width and not the length of a car key for mid-’90s hoopty. Think the overall size of a bulky keyfob for a modern car (a stretch for most of you, I know) and you’re on the right track.

Pros/Great size, well-known electronics maker
Cons/Needs to pair with a smartphone
Bottom Line/Well priced at under $100

4. Kingslim D2 Dual Dash Cam

Despite its name, this product isn’t some new form of weight loss supplement. Named as such for its credit card-like profile, this dash cam actually has two peepers – one fore and one aft. It has gubbins robust enough to record HD video in both directions at the same time.

The dash camera with motion detection will record and lock the current video when the built-in G-sensor detects a shake or collision, whether driving or in the parking mode. This may be troublesome for those of us living on terrible, pothole-infested streets; try and avoid setting off this feature accidentally.

Pros/Front and back recording
Cons/Just try and hide that rear cam
Bottom Line/Good reviews and good value

5. Innosinpo DVR Car Dashboard

If it’s a bargain basement dash cam you seek, examining the “what brand is that again?” section of Amazon will be required. Despite its impenetrable name, this product has a solid 4.6 out of 5-star rating from over 1600 real-world customers.

The LCD screen is decently sized at 3 inches which means, of course, the housing is a bit bulkier than others on this list. That’s likely a partial result of being built to a price, rather than a spec. It does have a G sensor and the ability to record at night

Pros/Costs less than a good meal
Cons/You'll know you bought the cheapest option
Bottom Line/Reviews are very positive considering the price

6. Thinkware U1000 4k Dash Cam

If you’re pining for the days when you drove around with a radar detector the size of a pack of king size smokes on your dashboard, then this is the dash cam for you. Its odd profile presupposes any sort of readily accessible viewing screen but there’s no doubt this thing is easy to hide from prying eyes.

It has a 150-degree field of vision and the alleged ability to record in super night vision mode, which makes us wonder if this cam endows the user with some sort of movie hero powers. There’s a year’s warranty and cloud storage service as well.

Pros/Unique and handy shape
Cons/Bloody expensive
Bottom Line/Hollywood taught us you'll pay to be skinny

7. Aukey 1080p Dash Cam

If the shape of that cam from Thinkware is an odd looker, this thing is squarely from outer space. Your author is struggling to describe its shape in comparison with common items, only being able to come up with the fact that it resembles an electric Remington razor from the 1980s.

Part of the shape can be explained by the manufacturer’s desire to have the cam’s entire anterior stuck to the windshield like a rabid Garfield cat. This angle then permits the cam to peer forward while providing the user with a color screen through which they can watch a recording of their enraged neighbor egging all the noisy cars on the street.

Pros/Odd but useful design
Cons/Still looks like a goiter
Bottom Line/What's that weird thing on your windshield?

8. Vava Dual Dash Cam

Like a couple of others on this list, the cam you see here dispenses with a built-in viewing screen in favor of a smartphone app. This saves space but adds a layer of complexity for Luddites in the audience. Snark aside, it is one more connection that could fail.

It is also the only cylindrical camera on our list, so it has that going for it. A secondary camera peeps rearward in case one is worried about miscreants speaking up on your car from behind or simply if one wants to use it for parking purposes. That would require dragging out one’s phone, however.

Pros/Funky shape, decent temperature range
Cons/Not practical as a reverse camera
Bottom Line/Don't forget the SD card

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Rental Reviews, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main Photo Credit: Titikul_B/ Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

12 Comments on “Highway Star – Best Dash Cams...”

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Why are factory installed dashcams uncommon?

  • avatar

    For the longest time, I avoided dash cams as another unnecessary bit of kit. However, after the drivers in my area exhibited greater levels of idiocy than normal, I broke down and bought one. I’ve not caught anything truly egregious, but it’s cheap insurance in case anything does happen.

    • 0 avatar

      tankinbeans – I’ve had one for years however I also haven’t used it in years and your comment on “the drivers in my area exhibited greater levels of idiocy than normal,” and am now looking for an upgrade! ;-( Drivers are getting worse!

  • avatar

    With the lack of basic driver skills being taught, and increasing levels of driver idiocy, AND the propensity for fault being assigned or denied erroneously, a dash cam is becoming a necessity….just like the internet, LOL!! :-)

  • avatar

    I got a cheap one on special with a form factor like #7, just try out the concept. It works ok, but sometimes the memory card doesn’t overwrite like it should and you have to reformat it a few times. I was lucky to get a very clean installation. There is an open older style USB port in the Sync module used for diagnostics, and it provides enough power. It’s above the glove box, and I happened to have some suitable and long enough cables in my box-o-obsolete cables to join together. Ran it up the A-pillar, across the headliner and down. Nice & neat & discreet, power comes on with ignition, nothing to worry about.

  • avatar
    John R

    Which ever one you’re are thinking about getting, GET IT.

    I was in a hit-&-run earlier this year and with a partial plate, a description of the truck that sideswiped me it wasn’t enough for state police to do anything but say, “Well…that’s why we have insurance, right? ¯_(ツ)_/¯”

    Got mine the very next week.

  • avatar

    I’m personally a fan of the ‘cheese wedge’ form factor, since it discreetly stays out of the way, often next to or behind the mirror (just don’t block any sensors). I started with a <$50 one several years ago and was happy enough that I recently upgraded to the same brand's (Viofo) dual cam model.

  • avatar

    Matthew, thanks for putting this one up. I’m not crazy about a lot of these “Top…” whatever posts, but I’m interested in dash cams, and have been thinking about buying them for awhile. I’m most interested in a dual camera system, or being able to incorporate the existing backup camera into one (that would be ideal, if one existed).

  • avatar

    I’m waiting for Vava to come out with their Voom model.

  • avatar

    I’m waiting for the Zoom cam so I can drive and have virtual meetings at the same time! hahahaha!

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