Dashboard camera on windscreen

The Best Dash Cams of 2021

By Austin Meadows Cameras, Stay Safe and SecureNo Comments

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Staying safe on the road should always be front of mind for drivers, but even when you’re paying attention, accidents happen. Often they’re not your fault, but while knowing that is one thing, proving it is something else. In these situations, it pays to have a dash cam installed.

A dash cam, or dashboard camera, automatically records the road in front of you, and with some models, behind you as well. Footage is saved automatically to an internal memory card, which can then be copied to an external drive or computer. If an accident happens, dash cam material may be reviewed by the police and/or insurance companies to determine fault in the accident.

It’s not just accidents that prove dash cams useful, however. They can also help prevent (and prosecute) thefts. Features like Parking Mode automatically activate the camera when motion is detected nearby, allowing recording of would-be car prowlers and vandals even when the vehicle is turned off. 

There are hundreds of dashboard cameras on the market, and each claims to be “the best.” Today, we’re taking a close look at many of the top models on the market to figure out which ones truly are the best dash cams of 2021.

Best Dash Cam: Rexing V1-4K
  • Max Camera Resolution: 2160p
  • Parking Monitor: Yes (with optional hardware kit)
  • Location Logging:Yes (with optional GPS unit)
  • Backup Power Supply: Supercapacitor

Best Front and Rear Dash Cam: VIOFO A129 Duo
  • Max Camera Resolution: 2 x 1080p
  • Parking Monitor: Yes
  • Location Logging:Yes
  • Backup Power Supply: Supercapacitor

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Best Budget Dash Cam: Chortau Dash Cam
  • Max Camera Resolution: 1080p
  • Parking Monitor: Yes (via optional hardwire kit)
  • Location Logging: No
  • Backup Power Supply: Battery

Best 4K Dash Cam: BlackVue DR900S
  • Max Camera Resolution: 1 x 1440p, 1 x 1080p
  • Parking Monitor: Yes
  • Location Logging: Yes
  • Backup Power Supply: Supercapacitor

Best Mirror Dash Cam: VanTop H610
  • Max Camera Resolution: 1 x 4K, 1 x 1080p
  • Parking Monitor: Yes (with optional hardware kit)
  • Location Logging: No
  • Backup Power Supply: Supercapacitor

Best Motorcycle Dash Cam: VSYSTO Waterproof Dash Cam
  • Max Camera Resolution: 2 x 1080p
  • Parking Monitor: No
  • Location Logging: Yes (with optional GPS unit)
  • Backup Power Supply: Supercapacitor

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Best Dash Cam for Uber & Lyft Drivers: Vantrue N4
  • Max Camera Resolution: 4k (single camera), 4k + 1080p (two cameras), 1440p + 2x 1080p (three cameras)
  • Parking Monitor: Yes (with optional hardwire kit)
  • Location Logging: Yes (with optional GPS unit)
  • Backup Power Supply: Supercapacitor

Best Dash Cam: Rexing V1-4K

Rexing V1 - 4K Ultra HD Car Dash Cam 2.4' LCD Screen, Wi-Fi, 170° Wide Angle Dashboard Camera Recorder with G-Sensor, WDR, Loop Recording, Supercapacitor, Mobile App, 256GB Supported

The Rexing V1-4K is one of the most popular dash cams on the market, and for good reason. It’s a great all-around choice, with high-resolution recording, a wide-angle lens, and advanced extras like parking mode and a G-force sensor that can detect collisions. Despite the laundry list of features, the Rexing is affordably priced, making it a sensible option for a wide variety of drivers.

The OV4689 sensor in this model can record in up to 2160p resolution and has a wide dynamic range, helping ensure crystal-clear video and strong low-light performance. The 170-degree lens also picks up a very wide field of vision, so there’s little chance of missing anything important. 

Even when the vehicle is off and the camera is asleep, the 24/7 parking monitor activates whenever motion is detected nearby. It will then record for 20 seconds, helping capture a vehicle prowler or hit-and-run without the camera needing to record constantly and drain the battery. You’ll need to buy and install a separate (inexpensive) hardwire kit to be able to activate parking mode, however.

During normal use, the V1 continually overwrites previous footage on a loop as needed. Collision detection technology ensures that footage is automatically locked if a collision occurs, however, ensuring it will remain available. The V1 supports SD cards of up to 256GB (sold separately), so you can add plenty of storage space for most situations.

Like most dashcams, the Rexing V1-4K has its own small power source that’s used when vehicle power isn’t available. Cheaper models tend to use standard lithium-ion batteries for this, while better versions (like the Rexing V1-4K) are powered by a supercapacitor instead. This lets it work in a much wider range of temperatures, with the manufacturer claiming the dash cam can operate safely down to -20°F, and as high as 176°F. 

Overall, this is a well-rounded, affordable dashcam from a respected company that offers US-based customer support. The only real downside is that you may need to buy a few extras to get full functionality: as well as the SD card and hardwire kit mentioned earlier, you’ll also need to purchase the GPS logger separately if you want to record your location as well.

Pros
  • Advanced features at an affordable price
  • 170 degree wide-angle camera
  • Can withstand temperatures of -20 to 176°F
  • Up to 2160p recording resolution
  • US-based customer support
Cons
  • GPS logging device and hardwire kit, if desired, must be purchased separately
Buy on Amazon

Best Front and Rear Dash Cam: VIOFO A129 Duo

VIOFO Dual Dash Cam A129 Duo Full HD 1080P Front and Rear Camera with GPS Wi-Fi Compact Design 2.0” LCD Display 140° Wide Angle, Emergency Recording, Parking mode, Super Capacitor,Motion Detection,WDR

For those looking to record in front of and behind their vehicle, a dual camera setup is necessary. One of the best dual dash cams on the market is the VIOFO A129 Duo, which comes as a kit that includes two separate cameras: a front-facing dash camera and a smaller rear-facing camera. Both of these record at up to 1080p, with night vision and a wide dynamic range for superior recording in low light. 

The VIOFO includes many advanced features normally only found on high-end models. This includes Wi-Fi support for viewing and transferring files and videos to your phone or computer, as well as GPS location logging. The GPS tracker is useful for insurance purposes, as it tracks both the physical location of the vehicle and its current speed. 

Like our top pick above, the VIOFO A129 Duo is powered by a supercapacitor that allows for safe operation during extreme temperatures. On the downside, the 140-degree “wide-angle” lens is a bit narrower than many popular models, but still sufficient for most purposes. The front camera is a little bulky, and best placed behind the rear-view mirror so that it doesn’t obstruct the driver’s field of vision. 

Pros
  • Dedicated front- and rear-facing cameras
  • 1080p recording
  • Built-in WiFi and GPS
  • Powered by super capacitors to help resist extreme temperatures
Cons
  • Front camera unit is a little bulky
  • 140 degree lens is not truly “wide angle”
Buy on Amazon

Best Budget Dash Cam: Chortau Dash Cam

Dash Cam for Cars 1080P FHD 2021 Car Dash Camera for Cars CHORTAU 3 inch Dashcam with Night Vision,170°Wide Angle, Parking Monitor, Loop Recording, G-Sensor

If you want a budget-friendly option, look no further than the Chortau Dash Cam. At a fraction of the cost of most devices on this list, this is the best cheap dash cam we’ve come across. Despite the low price, it actually works pretty well.

Surprisingly, the Chortau can record in full HD (1080p), and has a 170-degree wide-angle lens. It has a G-sensor and automatic accident detection, night vision support, and even includes a parking monitor feature (via an optional hardwire kit or battery.) It installs easily with a suction-cup mount, and doesn’t take up too much space. Be aware, though, that the suction cup can come loose in very hot weather.

Given the price, it perhaps isn’t surprising that the inbuilt software isn’t always the easiest to use, although it does the job. A microSD card isn’t included in the box either, so be sure to pick up a Class 10 card (up to 32GB capacity) when placing your order. 

One notable downside to this model is that it is powered by a lithium ion battery. Unlike the supercapacitor-powered devices listed above, this model won’t be able to withstand extreme temperatures. 

If you live in a particularly hot or cold climate, or are looking for the highest-quality recordings or slickest software, it’s likely worth spending a bit more. But if you don’t, and want to save some money, this is one of the best dash cams under $100.

Pros
  • 170 degree wide-angle lens
  • Very affordable
  • Automatic accident detection
  • Installs easily via suction cup
Cons
  • Powered by lithium ion battery – cannot withstand extreme temperatures
  • Suction cup may come loose in very hot conditions
Buy on Amazon

Best 4K Dash Cam: BlackVue DR900S 

BlackVue DR900S-2CH with 64GB Micro SD Card with Power Magic Pro Hardwiring Kit Included | WiFi GPS 4K Recording with Parking Mode BV-KIT111

There’s a lot of misleading advertising around 4K dash cams. Many cameras (including even our top pick) have 4K in their marketing material, but that’s just what the sensor can capture for a single image. Proper 4K video recording, especially at 30 frames per second or higher, requires much better hardware. At this stage, only a few dash cams offer it.

For true 4K video, the BlackVue DR900S is where it’s at. This is a top of the line model from a premium brand, and that’s reflected in the price, but you get a lot for your money. The tubular design is easy to mount, and its slim size and black coloring make it a discrete option if you’re trying to keep the camera hidden.

The front-facing camera has a 160° wide-angle lens and can record at 4K (3840×2160) resolution at 30fps, while the rear camera has a 140° lens that shoots at 1080p. The DR900S comes with a 64GB microSD card and supports cards with up to 256GB capacity, higher than much of the competition. Combined, this means that this dash cam doesn’t miss a thing. 

Like other high-end models, the DR900S is powered by a built-in supercapacitor that allows it to operate in extreme temperatures. As you’d hope for the money, it comes with GPS tracking with live speed display, parking monitor (via the included hardwire kit or an optional battery pack), and dual-band Wi-Fi.

Other than the higher price, the only real downside of this camera is that its small size leaves no room for a screen on the back. To view footage or change settings, you’ll need to use the iOS or Android app on your phone.

Pros
  • Front and rear-facing cameras, with front camera true 4k
  • GPS tracking with live speed display
  • Parking monitor
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi
Cons
  • High end device comes with a high end price
  • No screen on the camera
Buy on Amazon

Best Mirror Dash Cam: VanTop H610

VanTop H610 10' 2.5K Mirror Dash Cam for Cars with Full Touch Screen, Waterproof Backup Camera Rear View Mirror Camera, Enhanced Night Vision with Sony Starvis Sensor, Parking Assistance

Mirror dash cams are an alternative option to traditional dash cams that attach directly to the front and back of your rear-view mirror. On the back of the mirror is the front-facing dash camera, and on the front is a screen that sits over top of the rear-view mirror. Separately, a smaller back-up camera is installed at the back of your vehicle, which feeds live video to the screen on the rear-view mirror. 

In other words, a mirror dash cam is a front-and-rear dash camera and a reversing camera in one. The VanTop H610 is one of the best mirror dash cameras on the market, with a 170° front-facing camera and 160° rear-facing camera that can both record at up to 2.5k (1440p.) 

There are two modes, one where the front camera records at 1440p and the rear at 1080p, and the other mode with the reverse configuration. A 10” IPS touchscreen replaces your rear-view mirror, and displays live backup camera footage to help you with parking, changing lanes, etc. 

The VanTop also has a parking monitor which will activate the camera when motion is detected. As with other dash cams, the inbuilt G-sensor detects collisions and automatically saves relevant recordings, while the loop recording system continuously overwrites old, unneeded footage to make room for the latest video. The only real downside to this model is that it doesn’t have GPS tracking or location logging capabilities. 

Pros
  • 170 degree front lens/160 degree rear lens
  • 10” IPS touchscreen
  • Easy to install
  • Includes backup camera
Cons
  • No GPS tracking
Buy on Amazon

Best Motorcycle Dash Cam: VSYSTO Waterproof Dash Cam

VSYSTO All Waterproof, 160 Degree Fish Eye, Motorcycle Dash cam Recording Camera DVR, with 2'' Screen, IMX323, Dual 1920x 1080P Front and Rear Camera Driving Recorder for Motorcycle, Bike

Motorcycle dash cameras are specifically designed for the needs of motorcyclists, built tough to withstand the elements, and needing to attach very securely so they don’t fall off while you’re riding. 

The VSYSTO Waterproof Dash Cam is the best motorbike dash cam on the market today. It comes with front- and rear-facing cameras, each with secure mounts to keep the cameras firmly attached on bumpy roads, and a touchscreen unit to connect the two together.

Both cameras can record at 1080p, with a 150° field of vision. The camera cases are IP67 rated against water and dust, and the host unit is rated to IP65, so there’s strong protection against whatever the elements decide to throw at you.

This model supports SD cards of up to 128GB capacity. As usual the loop recording approach automatically overwrites older files, so even with a relatively small SD card, you’ll be able to record enough for most situations. 

The downsides to this model is that the “wide-angle” 150° lens isn’t especially wide (many models on this list are 160° or 170°), and that GPS tracking requires an optional add-on, sold separately. 

Pros
  • Front- and rear-facing camera mounts
  • IP65/IP67 waterproof
  • WiFi support
Cons
  • GPS tracking requires additional purchase
  • 150° lens isn’t really “wide-angle”
Buy on Amazon

Best Dash Cam for Uber & Lyft Drivers: Vantrue N4

Vantrue N4 3 Channel Dash Cam, 4K+1080P Front and Rear, 4K+1080P Front and Inside, 1440P+1080P+1080P Three Way Triple Car Camera, IR Night Vision, 24 Hours Parking Mode, Capacitor, Support 256GB Max

Rideshare drivers are often encouraged to use dash cams to protect themselves, not only from other road users, but also from their passengers. The Vantrue N4 dash cam is a great choice for those driving for Uber or Lyft, mostly because of its unique in-cabin camera. This model includes three separate cameras: front-facing, rear-facing, and inside the cabin. Drivers can record everything that’s going on inside and outside of their vehicles. 

The Vantrue is a fairly high-end camera, with a price tag to match. If you drive for a living, however, it’s well worth the cost, with its extra features making this one of the best dash cams for truckers and other driving professionals. In addition to the in-cabin camera, features like a 24-hour parking mode (with an optional hardwire kit), infrared night vision, and heat-resistant supercapacitor power source make this a well-rounded and powerful dash cam. 

The recording resolution for this model depends on how many cameras are running. With just the front-facing camera in use, it can record at up to 4K. With front and rear or cabin, it can record at 4K + 1080p. And with all three cameras running, it is limited to 1440p (front-facing) and 1080p + 1080p (rear-facing and in-cabin). 

The downsides to this model are that it is somewhat expensive, and that it doesn’t include GPS tracking by default. A GPS unit is sold separately for drivers who would like to add the feature, however.

Pros
  • Three cameras: Front-facing, rear-facing, and inside cabin
  • IR night vision
  • Supports up to 256gb SD cards
  • High resolution recordings
Cons
  • Above-average price
  • GPS unit sold separately
Buy on Amazon

Main image via Shutterstock, product images via Amazon

About the Author
Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows

Austin is a digital nomad with a passion for exploring alternative lifestyles and testing the latest technological innovations. Rarely under the same roof for long, when he's not sampling wine and cheese in Bulgaria or downloading the latest travel app, you can find him running, gaming, or cooking up something delicious.

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