If you're looking for a compact dash cam that's packed with features, but still easy to use, you can't go wrong with the Garmin 55. It provides excellent image detail and voice controls, and it has a GPS receiver built right in.
If you're not quite ready to spend a lot of money on a dash cam and are looking for a capable one with decent video quality, we recommend this one. Despite its affordable price, it has Wi-Fi, a 165-degree, ultra wide-angle glass lens capable of monitoring three lanes of traffic, and night vision.
The Z-Edge Z4 combines superior video quality, a large screen, and a strong mounting system. It supports several various video resolutions, including the ultra wide 2560 by 1080 resolution, providing you with crystal-clear footage that's balanced in both light and dark environments.
For those looking for a dual-cam model that records in both directions, the Vantrue N2 is hard to beat. It's equipped with dual Full HD front and rear cameras and a button to record audio if you need to. It also has a date- and time-stamp feature in the event you need to use your footage as evidence.
If you're looking for a discreet camera that saves space on your dashboard, this one from Thinkware is the best pick. It offers an easy installation, excellent image quality, and a small design that won't obscure your view. It also handles higher temperatures better than other dash cams.
Often a source of YouTube entertainment, dash cams continue to gain popularity among drivers for a few key reasons. Opportunities to become an online sensation aside, dash cam footage is frequently being used by insurance companies to determine who's at fault in the case of a collision.
It's worth noting that some states have strict , which prohibit "any object or material placed, displayed, installed, affixed, or applied upon the windshield." This means you won't be able to use most dash cams, which typically are mounted on your windshield with a suction mount 0r adhesive pad. Be sure to check your states laws before purchasing one. Unlike the others in our roundup, our fifth option below snaps onto your rearview mirror, so you won't be breaking the law if you have that kind.
Having a dash cam can give you the confidence of knowing that the facts will speak for themselves, rather than having your case evaluated based on witness testimony and police reports. These picks offer the best combination of reliability, image quality, and ease of use, so you'll feel safer on the road.
Learn More About The Top Five Dash Cams:
1. Garmin Dash Cam 55 —
Pro: Voice commands are convenient and work well
Con: More expensive than most other dash cams on the market
You may have relied on a Garmin GPS system in the past to help you navigate streets in an unknown city. That device has probably since been replaced with your smartphone, but we think this Garmin product deserves a spot on your dashboard once again. The Garmin Dash Cam 55 is the best dash cam you can buy. It offers a 1440p HD resolution, and it shoots 30 frames per second, so video quality is crystal clear during the day, and its HDR feature helps improve night recordings, too.
We like its discreet and compact size, so you don't have to worry about it ever intruding in on your view. Plus, its power cable is 13.5 feet long, so you'll be able to tuck the cord behind your windshield moulding and keep it out of the way. You get two magnetic mounts with this dash cam. It attaches to your windshield or dashboard with a 3M adhesive, so it's a semi-permanent mounting solution, but the device itself can easily be removed from the mount if you're worried about leaving it in the car when you're not driving.
If you've ever used a smart speaker, you'll get a kick out of the Garmin's voice control. Just say "OK, Garmin" to wake up its 2-inch display, which lists four options: save video, take a picture, record audio, or start Travelapse (which is a time-lapse mode). We think Garmin's dash cam offers one of the easiest and safest to use interfaces. It automatically begins recording when it's connected to a power source. You won't be scrolling through complex menus, or have to change a lot of settings, either, and you can stop recording with your voice. The device has built-in Wi-Fi, which works in tandem with a , that can be used to view stored images and recordings, and transfer them to your smartphone or computer.
Other useful features are built-in GPS, so it captures the location for where the video was recorded, and a Forward Collision Warning System that detects when you're too close to the car in front of you. The dash cam records in a continuous loop, so when your memory card runs out of space, it'll overlap existing videos. We recommend purchasing a larger , because this one only comes with 8 GB of storage space.
2. YI Smart Dash Camera —
Best Budget Dash Cam
Pro: Affordable price, night vision mode, free app is easy to use
Con: Doesn't come with a suction mount
The YI Smart is a budget-friendly dash cam that's equipped with an A12 processor (which allows it to record 1080P Full HD video at 60 frames per second), a bright 2.7-inch screen, and Wi-Fi for pairing it with your smartphone. Its ultra-wide angle lens gives you 165 degrees of visibility that's plenty wide enough to cover three lanes of traffic.
It's also one of the few dash cams that's available in different colors. You have a choice of silver or gold. It comes with a long charging cable, a power adapter, and a mount, but you'll need to purchase a to store videos. The included mount uses a 3M adhesive, so it's a semi-permanent solution. We wish that the camera also came with , so you can use it in multiple vehicles. On the side, the camera is one of the easiest to use, and it still offers great image quality, especially for its low price. It also uses the ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System), which warns you when cars are leaving their lanes and lets you know when you're following too closely. Make sure to for transferring videos to your smartphone for easy editing and sharing!
3. Z-EDGE Z4 Dash Cam —
Best Dash Cam for Night Images
Pro: Includes a 16 GB memory card
Con: Lacks built-in GPS
The Z-EDGE Z4 captures impressive ultra high-definition video in all lighting conditions, thanks to its large CMOS image sensor, six glass lenses that reduce glare, and its powerful chipset. It has a wide-angle lens with a 150-degree viewing angle that's long enough to capture several lanes of traffic. We were impressed by the Z4's ability to capture detailed video even at nighttime and during rainy weather. You'll still be able to make out license plate numbers without issue, too.
This dash cam doesn't have built-in GPS, but on the side, it's easy to mount in your car and comes with a 16 GB memory card. That's plenty of space to record your road trips or footage to give to an insurance company in the event of a crash. It even automatically overwrites old videos when the card is full. The camera begins recording as soon as you turn your vehicle on, and it stops either manually, when no motion is detected, or when you turn the ignition off.
Its 2.7-inch LCD touchscreen is a great size for playing back video and adjusting settings. Plus, we like that the camera doesn't take up too much space. The power cable is 13 feet long and connects to your car's 12-volt accessory outlet. It even comes with an adapter for plugging in a separate USB device, so you can charge your phone, too!
4. Vantrue N2 Pro Dash Cam —
Best Dual Cam
Pro: Strong image quality, able to record the interior and exterior of your vehicle
Con: Doesn’t include a memory card
If you're in search of a dash cam with dual lenses for recording both the interior and exterior of your vehicle, we recommend the Vantrue N2 Pro. It's the perfect solution for Uber, Lyft, or cab drivers who want some peace of mind they'll have evidence in the event that a passenger misbehaves. A camera also has the potential to deter passengers from saying or doing something lewd or offensive, and it has a time stamp for evidence purposes. If you don’t feel comfortable recording audio, you can disable its interior microphone if you want.
We were happy to see that the Vantrue N2 Pro’s exterior and interior cameras record in full 1080p HD. If you have both cameras rolling, the front camera is capable of recording across a 170-degree field of view, while the rear records across 140 degrees. You should get a nice and wide bright view from both sides, especially given that the rear camera features four LED lights. Although we would have liked to see built-in GPS and an included memory card, the N2 Pro is an excellent camera with strong image quality for those looking to record in both directions.
5. Thinkware F70 —
Best Discreet Dash Cam
Pro: Doesn't take up as much space as a traditional dash cam
Con: Doesn't support memory cards larger than 64 GB
Most dash cams have boxy designs that can be a bit of an eyesore in your vehicle's interior, but not the Thinkware F70. About the size of a tube of lipstick, this sleek camera blends into your car’s cabin. It comes in jet black and rests just below your rearview mirror. It’s about 3 inches long and an inch thick — so small you'll forget it's there.
We spent a couple days testing the camera and found it to have an incredibly easy install. All you need to do is put the included 3M adhesive pad on your windshield and plug it in your car's 12-volt accessory outlet (the cigarette lighter). It has motion detection to automatically begin recording, or you can just press its only button — a tiny record button on its left side.
The camera shoots 30 frames per second in full 1080p HD. It offers a wide 140-degree viewing angle, so you can see adjacent lanes and the road's shoulder. Considering its affordable price, we were impressed with image quality, and were happy to see legible license plates at night time. Our test model came with an 8 GB memory card, but we recommend upgrading to a 32 or 64 GB card so you can store more footage.
This dash cam supports GPS, but the external GPS antenna is . If you live in a warmer climate, the F70 is an excellent choice because it uses a capacitor instead of a lithium-ion battery, which handles higher temperatures better. It even has a built-in thermal sensor to automatically power itself down when it gets too hot. We think if you're looking for a discreet camera that saves space on your dashboard, this one is the best pick.
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