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The 5 Best Dash Cams

Close up of dash cam for safety on the road accident

A dashboard camera is a great way to add more security to your car. Whether you want footage of a car accident to show your insurance, or a collection of wacky on-the-road antics for viral fame on YouTube, we’ve rounded up the best dash cams for you.

We’ve selected an excellent standard model that combines ease of use with a great collection of features. If you’re looking to save as much as possible we also have a budget option, in addition to choices specifically selected for those who need to record the interior of their cars (good for anyone with kids or who uses their vehicle for a ridesharing service), and more. There are plenty of reasons to invest in a dash cam, as well as solid picks for every situation.

What to Look for in a Dash Cam

For the most part, dash cams are straightforward—just put it in your car, make sure it’s on, and it will record anything it sees. However, if you’re going to buy one, there are a few things you should give some thought to before making your purchase:

  • Camera Type: Dash cams come in a few flavors. Most are just single-unit cameras that record the road ahead of you, but you can also purchase options with additional cameras for monitoring the interior of your car (for, say, your kids or your many ridesharing customers if you drive for Uber) or for watching the space behind your car. Consider your needs and make sure you choose one that’s a good fit.
  • Video Quality: If you’ve ever watched a dash cam video, you know that sometimes it’s not enough to simply see an event happen—sometimes you need a camera good enough to capture critical details like license plate numbers or road signs. We favor cameras that can shoot at least 1080p at 30fps and can also work in dim lighting.
  • Data Storage: How does your dash cam store footage? Some can record locally to an SD card, while others are designed to automatically upload footage directly to a cloud server. SD card storage is often less expensive, as some cloud services might charge a fee; alternatively, cloud storage ensures your footage will be there in the event your vehicle (and the device) get totaled or stolen.
  • Motion and Impact Sensors: The best dash cams continue to work even when you’re off the road. They’ll automatically turn on and start recording whenever they detect nearby movement or an impact. This is an incredibly handy feature to have in case your car gets hit or broken into while parked, or if you are too injured after an accident to capture the event.
  • Power Source: Some dash cams run on battery, some offer easy connection to your car’s 12V or 24V auxiliary power outlet, and some have to be professionally installed as they connect directly to your vehicle’s battery. The majority are designed to just be plugged into your car’s auxiliary outlet, however, which is what works best for most folks.
  • Design: It’s not required, but it’s nice to have a dash cam with an on-device screen. That way, you can review footage without having to open up your computer (either to view it on your SD card or from the cloud). We are also fans of cams that have support for voice commands, allowing you to save a clip with a simple phrase so you can stay focused on the road.
  • Cost: There are plenty of budget-friendly dash cams out there under $100, and they are certainly better than nothing. However, it’s absolutely worth paying a little more for your dash cam if you are able to, like around $200-$250, as that price point pretty much guarantees better video quality and other essential features.

Best Overall: Garmin Dash Cam Tandem

Garmin Dash Cam Tandem front view

The Garmin Dash Cam Tandem is our pick for the all-around best webcam, but it’s also the best dual dash cam. It features high-definition front and rear cameras, each with a 180-degree viewing angle, so you can record the road ahead as well as your vehicle’s interior. The front-facing camera can capture footage in 1440p with Garmin’s Clarity HDR technology, ensuring capture of crisp details. Likewise, the rear-facing camera records in 720p.

Both cameras record at up to 30 frames per second. The rear camera also features the company’s proprietary NightGlo technology, which makes it easier for it to capture quality footage of your passengers at night. While this isn’t a huge deal for the average user, it’s a must-have for rideshare drivers as passengers can sometimes be dangerous or unpredictable.

With the Tandem, you’ll have access to voice controls, plus the built-in GPS and Galileo sensors will stamp every saved video with the exact time and location. Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity also makes it easy to view and share videos from the companion mobile app. It also has Dash Cam Auto Sync feature that can control and play back synchronized video from as many as four compatible dash cams for a complete recording experience.

The dash cam measures 2.2 x 1.6 x 0.9 inches and weighs just 2.3 ounces, so it’s small and discreet. It even comes with a microSD card, making it ready to use out of the box. With its dual camera setup, night vision recording, and other features, the Garmin Tandem is a rock solid overall pick.

Best Overall

Garmin Tandem

Get reliable and high-quality recordings for your on-the-road adventures.

Best Budget Pick: APEMAN 1080p FHD

Front and partial-rear view of the APEMAN 1080p FHD dash cam

Need a dash cam but want one that’s affordable? The APEMAN 1080p FHD is a solid and budget-friendly option. It can record in 1080p full HD at 30fps, which is enough to capture details in crystal clear form. You can also review footage and adjust settings on the device’s 3-inch LCD screen.

The camera supports WDR and HDR and has a large f1.8 aperture that’s perfect for capturing crisp details and color-accurate footage at night. With a super wide 170-degree field of view, you’ll be able to capture everything on the road ahead of you. It also boasts a built-in G-sensor that’ll automatically clip a recording if it detects your vehicle was impacted by a collision.

Best Premium Choice: Thinkware U1000

The Thinkware U1000 dash cam

If you’ve got a few extra bucks to spare, we highly recommend going all out and splurging on the Thinkware U1000. This premium pick offers outstanding video quality and can record either in 4K native at 30fps or in 2K at 60fps—perfect for ensuring every last detail is captured. The Advanced Driver Assistance System alerts you of potential forward collisions and lane departures.

The camera has a decent 150-degree viewing angle and an integrated night vision mode that allows it to reduce noise and boost image quality in low-light situations. You can opt for the 12V version that plugs into your car’s interior, or the hardwired version for those with access to professional installation. You can also spring for the optional parking surveillance mode for motion-activated recordings, but professional installation is recommended for that feature.

Best Premium

Thinkware U1000

Enjoy 4K ultra-high definition footage capture and a slew of other premium features with this dash cam.

Best Compact Cam: Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2

The Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2

Garmin’s brand new Dash Cam Mini 2 is the upgraded version of its original mini cam, and it’s perfect for those wanting a discreet dash cam. The 140-degree field of view ensures plenty of details will be recorded at all times, and 1080p HD recording makes it easy to view all of the important details. Saved videos also automatically upload via Wi-Fi to a secure online vault.

The car key-sized camera won’t block your view, and it’s easily hidden by your rearview mirror if you don’t want your dash camera to be noticeable. The Mini 2 supports voice controls for saving videos, taking still photos, starting or stopping audio recording, and more. And with the handy Parking Guard feature, you can even receive a notification via the Garmin Drive app (on iOS and Android) if there’s an incident.

Best Compact Cam

Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2

Get a discreet dash cam that'll record your adventures without standing out in a parking lot.

Suzanne Humphries Suzanne Humphries
Suzanne Humphries was a Commerce Editor for Review Geek. She has over seven years of experience across multiple publications researching and testing products, as well as writing and editing news, reviews, and how-to articles covering software, hardware, entertainment, networking, electronics, gaming, apps, security, finance, and small business. Read Full Bio »