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Which dash cam brand to buy in 2019

By Louise Muyanja

We help you choose a dash cam brand that lasts with our unique survey of Garmin, Halfords, Nextbase and Transcend dash cam owners.

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Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Knowing which dash cam brands develop the most faults means you can avoid buying a dash cam that's likely to let you down. 

That's why each year we ask more than 10,000 Which? members to tell us whether they're happy, or have experienced problems, with their tech products in our unique reliability survey.

Our survey data takes into account the fault rates reported by their owners, plus the severity of these faults and how soon they occurred after being bought.

In our latest analysis, we've looked at the performance of the biggest dash cam manufacturers – Garmin, Halfords, Nextbase and Transcend. We've calculated a reliability rating for each brand so you know which brand to choose to find the best model and which to avoid.  

In this article:

Difference between the best and worst brands

Our survey data allows us to report on four major dash cam brands – Garmin, Halfords, Nextbase and Transcend. As you can see from our graph below, there's a noticeable difference between the best and worst brands.

  • Best and worst score in our tests shows the highest and lowest Which? test scores from the brands in our survey. The higher-scoring dash cam is a Best Buy. Our tests revealed it has super-sharp footage, is very easy to use and has useful extra features. The lower-scoring dash cam has poor footage.
  • Reliability rating is based on Which? members' experience with the best and worst-rated brands. You can use this rating to see whether or not these brands can be relied on to last, based on our survey. 
  • Customer satisfaction score shows how likely respondents in our survey are to recommend the best and worst brand to a friend. This demonstrates how satisfied our dash cam owners were, so you'll know whether you're likely to have a good experience with the brand.  

The most reliable brands 

In the table below, brands are ranked by their customer score. A high customer score means that owners in our survey would recommend their dash cam. The more stars for reliability, the fewer the problems reported.

Only logged-in Which? members can view which brands achieved the ratings and verdicts in the table below. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.
 

Brand Reliability rating Reliability score Customer score
94% 74%
87% 79%
90% 67%
84% 66%
Table notes
Data based on a survey of 1,599 Which? members April-July 2019.

Key

Member Content

Common dash cam problems 

Our survey shows that if you experience a problem, it's likely to be a fault where the dash cam refuses to record. 

Some 11% of dash cam owners in our survey reported that they encountered an issue where footage would not record on their dash cam, which essentially renders the it useless. 

  • The least reliable brand identified in our survey didn't fare so well – 17% of owners reported a fault on one-year-old devices, an astonishingly high figure. 
  • Our most reliable dash cam brand ages far better – only 7% of owners reported a fault on their four-year-old devices.

The top-performing dash cam brand in our survey finished up with a reliability score of 94%. The worst performer has a score of 84%.

Which dash cam brand stays fault-free for longest? 

The graph below shows how the brand that stays fault-free for the longest compares with the worst brand and the overall average.

Logged in Which? members can see how the major dash cam brands compare for faults over a four-year period in the table below. Not yet a Which? member? You can join Which? to instantly access our survey results and all of our expert, independent reviews – including our dash cam reviews.

Only logged-in Which? members can view which brands achieved the ratings and verdicts in the table below. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

 

Brand name % faults after one year % faults after four years
10% 10%
17% 17%
12% 15%
7% 7%
Table notes
Data based on a survey of 1,599 Which? members April-July 2019.

Key

Member Content

How we measure faults and reliability in dash cams

Our results take into account minor, major and catastrophic faults:

  • Minor – a fault that doesn't affect the product's performance significantly or a fault that only occurs occasionally with minimal impact. This issue may be irritating or annoying, but it isn't frequently problematic and you can easily work around it. For example, slow connectivity.
  • Major – a fault that has a noticeable effect on the dash cam’s performance. This fault affects how you use the product and can be problematic. Such as a broken dash cam lens causing footage to become distorted.
  • Catastrophic A fault that renders the dash cam unusable, with the fault needing to be repaired or parts replaced before it can be used again. For example, a dash cam failing to turn on.

Dash cam brands rated 

Choose a brand from the list below to find out more about its performance in our survey.

Garmin dash cams overview
Number tested in the past three years 5
Number of Best Buys
Average test score
Brand reliability rating
Customer score (%)
Typical spend
Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (at 16 October 2019) that are still available. The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey in April-July 2019 of 1,599 dash cam owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated 16 October 2019.

Key

Member Content
  • Find out how well Garmin dash cams score for reliability, and how Garmin fares against rival dash cam brand Halfords, Nextbase and Transcend.
  • Discover the most common issues found with Garmin dash cams as users report on a range of faults, including battery problems, display issues and hardware failures.
  • See how Garmin fared based on its customer score – we asked those in our survey how satisfied they were with Garmin dash cams and how likely they were to recommend them to others.
Halfords dash cams overview
Number tested in the past three years 4
Number of Best Buys
Average test score
Brand reliability rating
Customer score (%)
Typical spend
Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (at 16 October 2019) that are still available. The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey in April-July 2019 of 1,599 dash cam owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated 16 October 2019.

Key

Member Content
  • Find out how well Halfords dash cams score for reliability, and how the brand fares against rivals such as Garmin, Nextbase and Transcend.
  • Discover the most common issues found with Halfords dash cams as users report on a range of faults, including battery problems, display issues and hardware failures.
  • See how Halfords fared based on its customer score – we asked those in our survey how satisfied they were with Halfords dash cams and how likely they were to recommend them to others.
Nextbase dash cams overview
Number tested in the past three years 9
Number of Best Buys
Average test score
Brand reliability rating
Customer score (%)
Typical spend
Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (at 16 October 2019) that are still available. The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey in April-July 2019 of 1,599 dash cam owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated 16 October 2019.

Key

Member Content
  • Find out how well Nextbase dash cams score for reliability, and how long its products typically remain fault-free.
  • Discover the most common issues found with Nextbase dash cams as users report on a range of faults, including battery problems, display issues and hardware failures.
  • See how Nextbase fared based on its customer score – we asked those in our survey how satisfied they were with Nextbase dash cams and how likely they were to recommend them to others.
Transcend dash cams overview
Number tested in the past three years 5
Number of Best Buys
Average test score
Brand reliability rating
Customer score (%)
Typical spend
Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (at 16 October 2019) that are still available. The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey in April-July 2019 of 1,599 dash cam owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated 16 October 2019.

Key

Member Content
  • Find out how well Transcend dash cams score for reliability, and how the brand fares against rival dash cam brands Garmin, Halfords and Nextbase.
  • Discover the most common issues found with Transcend dash cams as users report on a range of faults, including battery problems, display issues and hardware failures.
  • See how Transcend fared based on its customer score – we asked those in our survey how satisfied they were with Transcend dash cams and how likely they were to recommend them to others.

Head to our dash cam reviews

Know which brand you want? Use the links to go straight to our reviews and find your ideal model:

How we calculate the best and worst brands 

Which? has a wealth of information on the UK's favourite technology brands. 

Every year, we ask Which? members to tell us about the technology products they own – from how likely they would be to recommend a brand to how reliable the products are once they get them home. 

This year, nearly 10,000 Which? members told us about more than 33,000 devices. We calculate a brand's reliability and its customer score based on the results of our annual survey.

Our reliability surveys, combined with our extensive lab tests, mean we can recommend the best dash cams you should buy.

This data is crucial for our testing, too. If a brand falls far below the category average, we remove a manufacturer’s Best Buy and won’t recommend any of its products unless a marked improvement in reliability is shown.

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