Top five dash cams for 2020
By Louise Muyanja
The differences between the best dash cams 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.
Top five best dash cams
This is the highest-scoring dash cam we've ever tested, it also has a lofty price tag to match. Not only does the top-of-the-line 4K lens capture footage in crystal-clear quality, but this dash cam it’s still incredibly easy to use and has a host of useful features - from parking mode to wi-fi. If you want a high quality dash cam that ticks all the boxes, and your budget can stretch to it, this is the perfect one to choose. Log in to see which model we're talking about.
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.
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. It might not have all the bells and whistles you’ll find on the 422GW, but it’s impressive nonetheless.
As far as dash cams go, this model is definitely premium but thanks to its great footage in our tests during the day and at night, it proved that it’s worth it. Its sound quality is good as well and to top it off, you’ll get a whole host of features - from wi-fi to lane departure warnings. If you’re willing to foot the bill, you’ll be getting your money’s worth with this one.
This household name has successfully ventured into the dash cam market and delivered a very good and affordable model. Its price isn’t its only selling point – in our tests it proved it can produce great footage, even in low light conditions at night, and is easy to use despite being so compact. It’s only a hair away from our Best Buy threshold. So if you’re on a budget, this is a good choice.
Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of March 2020.
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 in our tests. These models are simply not worth buying.
Three dash cams to avoid
To put it simply, this dash cam is disappointing. Footage is patchy during the day and is useless at night as the dash cam has poor sensitivity to low light, so we were unable to read number plates at all. It's affordable but its footage quality just isn't good enough.
Unfortunately, this popular brand couldn't pull off a cheap, good quality dash cam with this model. Its video quality is what lets it down. Even in the daytime, recordings are grainy. At night, reading number plates is a real task. Paired with the fact that its audio quality is hugely disappointing, it's a definite Don't Buy.
If you're searching around Amazon for a dash cam, you'll likely come across this one. Even for its enticing, low price, you're best off steering clear from this model. Its footage lacked detail in the daytime and is crippled by glare at night. But to make matters worse, it's a pain to use. Definitely avoid.
Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of January 2020.
Six things to look out for when picking a dash cam
Recording resolution: Make sure it films in Full HD at least - that’s 1,920 x 1,080 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: This great feature activates recording on your dash cam if it detects a collision while your car is parked. This allows it 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. It could even put you in legal trouble - as it will have to hang directly from behind your rearview mirror to your cigarette lighter socket. Our reviews will let you know if a dash cam’s power cable is too short.
Loop recording: 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. Almost every model has it nowadays, but it’s still important to check.
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.