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Five cheap dash cams to avoid in 2017

By Callum Tennent

It can be tempting to go for the cheapest dash cam you can find. But is this harmless thriftiness or a potential accident waiting to happen?

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Unlike with most electronics, picking the wrong dash cam could result in your filmed footage being deemed unusable in a court of law - a cost that is likely to be far greater than the money you saved when buying the camera in the first place.

With dash cams ranging in price from less than £20 to an eye-watering £280, one question comes to mind: just how much do you need to spend? Take a look at the table below to see just how poorly some of the cheapest dashboard cameras on the market score in our tests. There are bargains to be had out there, but models this cheap should be an immediate red flag.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by taking a £1 Which? trial.

Five cheap dash cams to avoid

Maplin M220
Typical price £40.00
Which? score 42%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Don't buy
Overall video quality day:
2 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5

Can you trust a high street retailer to make its own line of products? The results can be mixed, but there's no confusion here - this budget number is a sore disappointment. Log in or sign up now to find out just who's behind it.

RAC RAC01
Today's best price £74.30
Which? score 40%
Reviewed Jun 2015
Don't buy
Overall video quality day:
2 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5

This dash cam comes from a real household name. It's one that's not historically famous for producing tech, though, and now we know why. Read the full review to find out just how poorly it performs.

Nextbase iN-CAR CAM 101 Go
Today's best price £34.95
Which? score 38%
Reviewed Jun 2015
Don't buy
Overall video quality day:
2 out of 5
Ease of use:
3 out of 5

This compact dash cam is part of the same family as our highest-scoring dash cam ever. Unfortunately, it could scarcely have performed more differently to it. This dash cam is a straight-up Don't Buy - sign up now to see which model it is.

Streetwize SWREC1
Typical price £24.00
Which? score 28%
Reviewed Jun 2015
Don't buy
Overall video quality day:
1 out of 5
Ease of use:
3 out of 5

One of many budget dash cam options available on Amazon, it has a 2.5-inch screen, motion detection and some truly awful footage quality. We put it through our tough lab tests and concluded that this cheap option is a waste of money.

Super Legend HD Video Car Dash Vehicle Recorder
Typical price £11.00
Which? score 23%
Reviewed Jun 2014
Don't buy
Overall video quality day:
1 out of 5
Ease of use:
3 out of 5

A dash cam for as little as £15? This was never going to end well. Dash cams are important bits of equipment that could save you not just money, but potentially a court case. Our testing found this one to be sorely lacking - read the full review now to be sure you don't make the mistake of buying it.

Not found the product for you? Browse all of our dash cam reviews.

How much should a dash cam cost?

We can't stress enough that cost is not a factor in our testing. Every model to pass through our labs, whether it costs £20 or £200, is judged equally on the exact same criteria. However, when it comes to making a buying decision, pricing is undoubtedly an important consideration.

Not all Best Buys cost the same, and while one may score a few percentage points higher than another it may still not be worth splashing out an extra £50 on it. We've also seen Don't Buy dash cams that cost more than some Best Buys - you definitely can't judge the quality of one on its price and branding alone.

Cheaper models may lack important features, such as GPS tracking, G-force sensors and a parking mode. If a dash cam with an alluring price catches your eye, be sure it still has all of the features that you need - you can find these in the 'Tech specs' tab at the top of all of our reviews.

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