We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies. You can understand more and change your cookies preferences here.

Technology.

Updated: 17 Feb 2022

Should you buy a front and rear dash cam?

Front and rear dash cams, which capture footage both in front of and behind your vehicle, come in a wide range of configurations. But are they worth having?
Felix Wilson
Front and rear facing dash cam

Most dash cams are sold as forward-facing models. These attach to your front windscreen to record the road ahead of you. While this is fine in most scenarios, it won’t help if you’re hit from behind.

Rear cams can increase the video coverage around your vehicle, giving you (and your insurer) a more detailed picture of what happened in the build-up to an accident. Image quality isn’t usually as defined as on a front camera, especially when it comes to low light, but a good model should be sharp enough to pick out the number plate of the vehicle behind you (or, in some cases, the inside of your vehicle cabin).

Types of rear camera

There are three main types of rear cam. Each requires a compatible forward-facing camera to work. Sometimes these are sold as a set in the same box – often with the rear camera built into the front camera. Others are modular, which means you’ll need to buy the front and rear cams separately.

Rear view camera

Rear view cameras are either built in or attached to the front camera directly. They look through the cabin of your vehicle and out of the back window. This means the view isn’t always as clear as it could be, and you’ll need to be careful of any obstructions between the camera and the rear window. On the plus side, there are usually no cables involved, making it easy to set up.

Rear window camera

These attach to the rear window of your vehicle and must be connected to the front camera using a cable, which needs to be tucked away into your vehicle’s trim. Rear window cameras tend to offer the clearest view of the road behind you.

Cabin view camera

A cabin view camera records events inside your vehicle rather than outside. They’re usually either built in or plugged directly into the front camera, so you don’t have any trailing wires. They’re often used by taxi drivers in case of disputes with passengers, but they could also be used to show that you weren’t distracted in the build up to an accident. Many cabin cameras come with some form of infra-red night vision, which can make low-light recording much clearer. 

Front and rear dash cams

  • It won’t capture much outside of your vehicle, but if you’re looking for a reliable cabin-view camera, this model is a great pick. It plugs into the side of a compatible forward-facing camera, which makes setting it up extremely easy.

    Sign up to reveal

    Full Access first month £2.99, then £9.99 per month, cancel at any time

    Already a member?Log in
  • 74%
    • best buy
    £109.99

    This affordable dual dash cam is actually the same as another model we’ve tested – only it comes boxed with a rear module that plugs into the side of the forward-facing camera. Footage on the main camera is excellent, and while things could be clearer at night on the rear cam, it’s still among the best we’ve seen.

    Sign up to reveal

    Full Access first month £2.99, then £9.99 per month, cancel at any time

    Already a member?Log in
  • 71%
    • best buy
    £229.99

    This brand is a newcomer to our dash cam test lab – and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s pricey for a dash cam, but it comes with three wide-angle lenses, capturing footage in front of, behind and inside the vehicle. If you’re looking for maximum video coverage, this could be the dash cam for you.

    Sign up to reveal

    Full Access first month £2.99, then £9.99 per month, cancel at any time

    Already a member?Log in
  • 71%
    • best buy
    £239.99

    This three-channel dash cam system is among the best we’ve tested. It comes boxed with front, rear window and cabin view cameras, giving you about as much coverage as you could want. Footage is excellent, especially in the daytime. It’s a little fiddly to set up, though.

    Sign up to reveal

    Full Access first month £2.99, then £9.99 per month, cancel at any time

    Already a member?Log in
  • This simple rear window camera is modular, so you need to pair it with a compatible forward-facing camera (there are plenty of excellent models to choose from). Footage is smooth and detailed, and it performs surprisingly well in low light for a rear module.

    Sign up to reveal

    Full Access first month £2.99, then £9.99 per month, cancel at any time

    Already a member?Log in

Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of February 2022.

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

Video: how to install a front and rear dash cam

If you’re not sure how to install a front and rear dash cam, watch this quick video tutorial:

Front and rear dash cams pros and cons

Before you go ahead and choose a front and rear dash cam, ask yourself whether this type of dash cam is the best choice for you. Here are the key factors to consider:

Pros:

  • Comprehensive coverage of the road behind you. It's the main draw of a front and rear dash cam, but it bears repeating. If your vehicle is rear-ended you'll rarely need to prove it wasn't your fault, but it can never hurt to have footage backing you up.
  • Greater coverage of the area around your parked vehicle. Dash cams aren't just useful for when you're driving - they help capture instances while parked, too. If someone crashes into or vandalises your vehicle while parked, a front and rear dash cam set-up is more likely to get a shot of the culprit.

Cons:

  • Front and rear-facing dash cams are expensive. There's no denying it - dual dash cams will cost you money, and lots of it. It's not uncommon for models to cost £200 or even more, all because you're essentially buying two dash cams.
  • A front and rear dash cam is only as strong as its weakest lens. It's not uncommon for manufacturers to make the rear-facing unit record in lower resolution than the front-facing one. The quality of recorded footage is paramount, and you should never compromise on quality just for the sake of recording more of the road. If the footage captured by a rear lens is too blurry or pixilated to be legible it may as well not exist at all.

See our full list of front and rear dash cams to find a model that's right for you.