Best Dash Cams for 2022

best dash cams

Car and Driver

For surveillance types who haven’t invested in a Corvette with a built-in external video recorder or a BMW 6-series Gran Turismo that can upload 360-degree photos to an app, a more affordable option is a dedicated dash cam. Here are some of the best we could find, as well as their features and pros and cons.



    Dash cams are more popular than ever, and we’ve heard dozens of stories how saved footage has helped car owners recover damages, beat tickets, and record some pretty remarkable events playing out in front of them.

    Today’s dash cameras come in a variety of sizes and styles with varying degrees of features and driver assistance. Many use internal GPS to accurately track location; driver assist features like lane-departure warnings are more common than ever. Parking mode, in which the device automatically begins recording if a parked vehicle is moved or jostled, is a popular option. The mounting systems vary wildly as well; some attach directly to the dashboard while others mount to the windshield. Many are bundled with rearview cameras and in-cabin cams, as well, making them particularly useful, even essential, for ride-share drivers.

    Naturally, price points are all over the map too. You can spend 50 bucks on a bare-bones, off-brand model, or you can pony up several hundred for a fully featured dash-cam bundle that will cover your car tip to tail, as well as nearly everything in its perimeter.

    A couple of caveats: Video quality and file sizes vary due to resolution, frame rate, embedded audio, and compression. Image quality, particularly during rapid exposure to bright sunlight (such as when exiting a tunnel or coming out from under an overpass), can vary. Battery life is iffy for most models, so if you’re planning to keep a watchful eye on your car while it’s parked overnight, you must have a 12-volt power outlet that stays live when the car is off. Finally, while most dash cams require a memory card to preserve footage, most new ones don’t come with a memory card included—and not all cameras are compatible with all micro SD cards. Buyerbeware.

    It’s a veritable dash-cam jungle out there, so we’ve gathered seven of our favorite dash cams of varying prices and features. Who knows? Maybe you’ll capture a close call on the road—or even a meteor. Or maybe you’ll save a bundle of money in repairs and insurance in the event of an accident or mishap. One thing’s for sure: If you don’t have a dash cam, you won’t capture anything.

    Dash Cams as Accident Reconstruction Tools

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best dash cam for most people

Rove R2-4K Dash Cam

  • American company with US-based customer service
  • Supports 512GB micro SD card

You could spend hundreds of dollars on a dash cam, or you can spend tens. This one falls near the middle, which means it’s full of features but won’t cost the equivalent of a car payment. Its ultra HD camera can capture images up to 2160p resolution, and the built-in Wi-Fi and GPS can track your route on the free Rove app or on Google Maps. It has a 150-degree wide-angle lens with an f1.8 aperture, plus parking mode, motion detection, g-sensor, loop cycle recording, emergency lock, time-lapse, and slow-motion capabilities. The Sony STARVIS sensor ensures night-vision video in clear detail.

Buy at WALMART

best budget dash cam

Nextbase 222 Dash Cam

  • Magnetic mount system makes it easily removable
  • Supports micro SD cards up to 128GB

We’ve used Nextbase dash cams (not this model; keeping scrolling), and have had great experiences with them. A compact design, low-pro mount, and a 2.5-inch LED screen make this affordable model one of the brand’s most popular. It records in 1080p HD with a 140-degree viewing angle. It has a g-force sensor, parking mode, and auto-start functions, but does not feature GPS or Wi-Fi. The video playback and review is compatible with either Mac or PC, and you can hook up an optional rearview cam for 360-degree coverage.

BUY at NEXTBASE

best small dash cam

Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2

  • Mounts sight unseen behind your rearview mirror
  • Garmin Vault storage; never lose your footage
  • Micro SD card not included

One of the smallest, most discreet dash cams you can buy, from one of automotive tech’s most trusted names. Despite the tiny size, it records a 140-degree field of view in 1080p high-def resolution. It has a host of high-tech features like hands-free voice command, Wi-Fi, Live View monitoring, and two power options via USB-B or USB-A. Best of all, it’s about the size of a key fob.

BUY at GARMIN

best dash cam for car and driver readers

Car and Driver Road Patrol Dash Cam

  • Parking mode auto-records if your car is struck while parked
  • Interior camera can be mounted anywhere in the cabin
  • 16GB memory card included; size up for more memory

Now here’s a name we can trust. Our proprietary Road Patrol dash cam features both front and rear cameras, so it’s ideal for rideshare drivers. The 1080p Sony image sensor is top-notch, with a 150-degree field of view—even the interior camera captures 110 degrees—and the three-inch OLED touchscreen makes it a breeze to use. The Drivesmart alert system lets you know if you car veers from its lane or gets too close to another vehicle, and other features like a parking mode, collision detection, and built-in GPS help make it one of our favorite dash cams.

BUY at HOME DEPOT

best value dash cam

Rexing V1 Dash Cam

  • Can support up to 256GB micro SD card
  • Wedge shape makes for discreet mounting

With a 170-degree viewing angle recording 2160p HD video and a supercapacitor designed to handle temperatures from minus-20 to 166 degrees Fahrenheit, the wedge-shaped Rexing V1 is one of the best values ​​in dash cams. It includes GPS functionality via Google Maps, plus a parking monitor, loop recording, g-sensor, and Wi-Fi connectivity.

BUY on eBAY

best midrange dash cam

Vantrue N4 Dash Cam

  • Loop recording automatically records over old files when memory card is full
  • 24-hour parking monitor
  • Vantrue micro SD card required; not included

While an inexpensive dash cam will suffice for some, spending a bit more will get you a high-tech, dependable device. The N4 offers simultaneous 360-degree vehicle coverage inside and out, and has all the high-end features like GPS, parking mode, time lapse, etc. It’s not perfect, though. It doesn’t support Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, so corded playback/review is your only option. Plus, in an annoying bit of salesmanship, typical 256GB micro SD cards aren’t compatible. You must use Vantrue’s proprietary one, and you have to purchase that separately or spend more for a “bundle.”

BUY at WALMART

best front and rear dash cam combo

Nextbase 622GW Dash Cam

  • This trusted brand was a pioneer in dash-cam tech
  • Click & Go magnetic mount

We’ve used the Nextbase 622, and can attest to its awesomeness. Easy to hook up, easy to use, and the coverage and clarity are among the best we’ve seen in any dash cam. It has features many others don’t, including image stabilization to make out license plates and street signs, 5 GHz Wi-Fi for clearer signals and fast download speeds, super-slow-mo playback, and revolutionary What3words global positioning technology to pinpoint your exact location within meters in the event of an accident.

BUY at WALMART

A dash cam lets you record the road as you drive. Dash cams usually plug into your car’s 12v outlet—although some run on batteries—and record whenever the car is on. A dash cam can capture footage of incidents, accidents, or unexpected situations such as a reckless driver or traffic stop. They can come in extremely handy when proving fault of an accident to the police or insurance companies.

Dash cams are specifically designed to record high-quality video at any speed, day or night, no matter if your vehicle is parked or in motion. They’re built to record steadily at high frame rates with high-definition video resolution and to withstand extreme temperatures. Many sync with in-cabin and rear-facing cameras.

Dash cams are relatively simple to use. Most don’t require you to manually start, stop, or save recordings. Many sync with mobile apps that unlock other functions such as GPS, red-light alerts, and driver assist features, and can send notifications to your phone in the event of an incident.

Recordings are usually stored on a micro SD card (usually not included) that records videos in a loop, depending on the card size. When the card reaches capacity, most dash cams will begin to overwrite the oldest recordings. More contemporary dash cams, though, will let you store recordings in the cloud for safekeeping. This makes them easy to share with insurance companies, the police, or others to help protect you in the case of accidents, insurance fraud, repair-shop damage, and other unexpected events.

How Long Does a Dash Cam Record For?

The recording quality, the size of the camera’s SD card capacity, and other factors can all affect how long a dash cam can record. With a high-quality 1080p recording, you can expect approximately:

  • 8GB Micro SD Card–Just under an hour
  • 16GB Micro SD Card–1 hour, 50 minutes
  • 32GB Micro SD Card–About 3.5 hours

However, even with such time limitations on the SD card, a good dash cam won’t just stop recording once the memory card is full. Most have continuous-loop recording, so when they run out of storage they simply record over the oldest video files. Quality dash cams and their mobile apps will let you lock videos so they can’t be overwritten, and most automatically save any incident footage, as in an accident.

Most modern dash cams offer cloud video management, allowing you to easily transfer your saved videos to online storage. This frees up space on your camera’s SD card and makes it simple to edit and share footage as needed.

Dash cams are legal in the United States, but you should check your state and local laws and restrictions on their use and mounting specs. In some cases, the police can confiscate a dash cam after an accident.

In many states it’s illegal to mount a dash cam directly to the windshield because it can obstruct your view. If your dash cam records audio or you use an in-cabin dash cam, you may be legally required to inform your passengers that they are being recorded.

How Much Do Dash Cams Cost?

The cost of a dash cam depends on its quality and features. As with all tech and gadgets, with dash cams you usually get what you pay for; the more you spend, the better quality and more features you’ll receive.

Inexpensive off-brand dash cams can be had for as little as $50, while features such as GPS, mobile app actuation, and cloud storage capabilities increase the price from there. A quality midrange dash cam should cost you a bit north of $100. Bundles that include rear dash cams, cabin cameras, SD cards, and more can cost upward of $500.

Bear in mind that with so many dash cams on the market, these devices can often be found on sale at retailers like Amazon and walmart. Holidays and sales events like Black Friday and Prime Day can score you a great deal on a quality dash cam too.

Depending on what, how, and why you drive, a dash cam can definitely be worth the investment. Professional drivers such as truck drivers, delivery workers, and ride-share drivers who spend a lot of time behind the wheel are bound to see more action and incidents. Accidents and traffic tickets are most likely, and dash-cam footage can save jobs by absolving drivers of responsibility. Some state laws and commercial insurance policies even require professional drivers to utilize dash, rear, and/or cabin cameras, so whether you want one or not a dash cam might be essential.

In the event of an accident, dash-cam footage can be used to determine fault and responsibility. Dash cams can also record remarkable events like wild accidents, close calls, and even comes streaking through the sky. And we’ve heard plenty of reports of folks who catch mechanics damaging or joyriding their vehicles while they are in the shop for repair.

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