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.
The Z-Edge Z3 Plus combines superior video quality, a large 3-inch 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.
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.
For those looking for a dual-cam model that records in both directions, the Transcend DrivePro 520 is hard to beat. It's equipped with a 1080p front camera and a 720p rear camera, four infrared LEDs, and a 32 GB memory card.
This unique dash cam clips on top of your existing rearview mirror to save space on your dashboard. It has an integrated 3.5-inch LCD monitor, rotating discreet dual-cameras, and comes with a 32 GB memory card. It's easy to install, and it automatically starts recording when you turn on your vehicle.
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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 like California have strict windshield obstacle laws, 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 — Check Price
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 Google Home 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 free app, 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 MicroSD card, because this one only comes with 8 GB of storage space.
Garmin recently announced a new dash cam, the Garmin Speak Plus, which records your drives, warns you when you're driving too close to the vehicles in front of you, and, best of all, it features Amazon Alexa integration. This gives you turn-by-turn directions, and it lets you control music playback, create lists, check traffic, news, or the weather — all with your voice, just like you would do with an Amazon Echo. The device is expected to be released in February.
2. Z-EDGE Z3 Plus Dash Cam — Check Price
Best Dash Cam for Night Images
Pro: Includes a 32 GB memory card
Con: Lacks built-in GPS
The Z-EDGE Z3 Plus captures impressive ultra high-definition 1440p 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 155-degree viewing angle that's long enough to capture several lanes of traffic. We were impressed by the Z3 Plus' 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 plus side, it's easy to mount in your car and comes with a hefty 32 GB MicroSD 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 3-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!
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 MicroSD card 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 a suction cup mount, so you can use it in multiple vehicles. On the plus 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 install the free app for transferring videos to your smartphone for easy editing and sharing!
4. Transcend DrivePro 520 Dash Cam — Check Price
Best Dual Cam
Pro: Includes both an adhesive and a suction mount
Con: Rear camera isn't 1080p
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 Transcend DrivePro 520. It's the perfect solution for Uber, Lyft, or cab drivers that 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.
We would have liked the rear-facing camera to be a higher resolution — it's still HD, but just 720p. Fortunately, the exterior camera records in full 1080p HD. The camera's 110-degree field of view isn't as wide as other dash cams we've featured, so it won't capture as much, but the picture quality is still strong. It's also more reasonably priced than other twin-cam models. We were glad to see that this unit has built-in GPS, comes with a 32 GB memory card, and features a nice, large display. You even have the choice of purchasing it with a suction mount or an adhesive mount.
5. Falcon Zero Dash Cam F360 HD — Check Price
Best Rearview Mirror Dash Cam
Pro: Doesn't take up as much space as a traditional dash cam
Con: The user interface isn't as intuitive as its competitors'
As we mentioned earlier, some states may have windshield obstacle laws. Fortunately, there's a handful of dash cams that snap onto your rearview mirror, so they don't break any laws. Our favorite rearview mirror dash cam is this one from Falcon Zero. It's easy to install, and it has a small LCD screen that doesn't take up much of your mirror's real estate.
Its dual cameras rotate 180 degrees, so you can record both the interior and exterior of your vehicle. Plus, the cameras have a 120-degree viewing angle to offer plenty of coverage. The cameras perform fantastically at daytime and at night. A 10-foot power cord, a dual USB charger, a 32 GB MicroSD card, and cord management clips are included. The cameras record in full 1080p HD, and loop recording ensures that you'll never have to worry about running out of space on your memory card. Like most other dash cams, this one begins recording as soon as you turn your vehicle on, and it shuts off when you turn your car off, too. 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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