Top five dash cams for 2019
By Louise Muyanja
The differences between a Best Buy and a Don’t Buy dash cam should not be understated. We’ve found plenty of Don’t Buy dashboard cameras in our testing, with models that are very difficult to install and provide unusable video footage. With so many dire dash cams around, it's important to choose wisely. That's where we can help.
It can be almost impossible to know which dash cam is the best simply by looking at the box it comes in. All sorts of numbers and specifications are proudly shown off, but how can you know how well it really performs without taking it out on the road first?
Below we reveal the very best models from our testing – as well as the dash cams you should avoid. Every dash cam goes through our rigorous lab tests, so you can be sure that any model we recommend offers top-quality footage with useful features and will be a breeze to use.
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Top five best dash cams
It might not be cheap but our tests found that this premium dash cam is totally worth its price. This compact dash cam manages to pull off detailed and good quality footage, an enviable roster of features and it’s easy to use. It’s no wonder this is the highest-scoring model in its range.
As far as premium dash cams go, this is an excellent choice. Not only did it impress us with how innovative how innovative its features are, but - most importantly - it delivers top quality footage. To top it all off, it was a breeze to use in our tests. Overall, it offers everything you’d need in a high-end dash cam.
If you’re looking for a dash cam that does a good job for a reasonable price, you’ve met your mate with this one. It’s a good value dash cam that produces sharp and clear recordings. Not to mention that it’s a breeze to set up and use, we’re definitely impressed.
Not found the model for you? Browse all of our dash cam reviews.
And here are three dash cams to avoid
The dash cam market is one of the fastest-growing tech markets around the world, thanks to more and more motorists realising its virtues. But it's not all smooth sailing.
It should come as no surprise that there are also some poor dash cams out there, but what may surprise you is just how poor they really are.
Below, you'll find the absolute worst of the worst – these models are not worth buying under any circumstances. They will be of no use to you whatsoever in the event of an accident or court case.
Three dash cams to avoid
You can excuse some compromise in quality from a dash cam this cheap, but only to an extent. This model isn’t a bargain, it’s simply a waste of money. Its footage is so poor that if you were ever in an accident, you may as well have had nothing recording at all. Avoid it.
If you're searching around Amazon for a dash cam, you'll likely come across this one. Even for its enticing price, you're best off steering clear from this model. Its footage lacked detail in the daytime and was crippled by glare at night. But to make matters worse, it's a pain to use. Definitely avoid.
Unfortunately, this popular brand couldn't pull off a cheap, good quality dash cam with this model. Its video quality is what let it down. Even in the daytime, recordings were grainy and at night, reading number plates was a real task. Paired with the fact that its audio quality was hugely disappointing, it's a definite Don't Buy.
Six things to look out for when picking a dash cam
Recording resolution Make sure it films in Full HD at least - that’s 1,920x1,080 pixels. This will ensure a minimum level of sharpness to its footage.
GPS tracking This attaches an exact location to your footage. Without it you may have a hard time proving you were in a certain location when the accident occurred, which means the perpetrator could get away with it.
Parking mode Parking mode is a great feature that activates recording on your dash cam if it detects impact or a collision while the car is parked, allowing you to capture footage in your absence that will potentially help in a claim.
Power cable length It may seem obvious, but a cable that’s too short can be a real pain – and even put you in legal trouble. Our reviews will let you know if a dash cam’s power cable is too short, meaning you would have to let it hang down directly from behind your vehicle’s overhead mirror to its cigarette lighter socket, obscuring your view of the road.
Loop recording Almost every model has it nowadays, but it’s still important to check. Loop recording automatically overwrites old footage with new recordings when the memory card fills up, saving you the time and effort of deleting files to free up space.
Screen or no screen? This can be a matter of personal preference, although a dash cam with a screen is usually more advantageous as you can see the footage being filmed in real time. Models without a screen are smaller and more discreet, but it does mean you’ll need a computer or companion smartphone app to see what’s being recorded.