Best Budget Dashboard Cameras 2020 : Buying Guide & Reviews
More and more drivers are choosing to install dash cams in their vehicles, for a variety of reasons. Whatever your reason for requiring one of these cameras, choosing the right cam with the right price tag is always important. When choosing a low cost dash cam, there are a few key features to look out for, which we will take a greater look at below. There are also a few questions you might be asking before purchasing your first dash cam – again, these will be answered later. But first, we have picked out what we feel are 10 of the best cheap dash cam options on the market today. So, no matter what you are looking for in yours, you are sure to find the perfect pick below.
10 best budget dash cam
Let’s now take a look at 10 good cheap dash cam models. We’ve chosen a range from some of the top brands so whether you are looking for a wide angle lens or 4K video quality, you’re sure to find it here.
1. Garmin Mini Cam
Best Features: Automatic recording. Great image quality and video quality.
Kicking off our guide we have perhaps the smallest best affordable dash cam from Garmin – it is only around the size of a car key! The small size means this camera is pretty much unnoticeable when installed on the rear-view mirror. It has a wide angle lens with a 140 degree field of view, that records full HD video. An 8GB micro SD card must be installed in this camera, and this is not included. It will then automatically record footage of incidents.
An app can be downloaded to your smartphone to play pack recorded footage with ease. There are Bluetooth and WiFi with this model, so uploading footage is easy and fast. No battery is required with this camera, instead, it connects to the car’s power source or cigarette lighter using the included power cable. This dash cam is a great pick for taxi drivers or casual use.
Field of View: 1440P HD
2. YI Nightscape Car Camera Recorder
Best Features: Other useful safety features e.g. forward collision warnings. Excellent low light performance.
The next best cheap dash cam we have picked out is another one with a 140-degree field of view. This camera has a 2.4″ LCD screen and works in temperatures ranging from -22F to 185F. Full HD video can be recorded on this camera and it has a range of other useful features for drivers, too. It warns drivers when a collision is imminent, when departing from the lane, or getting fatigued, so it can help prevent accidents as well as capturing footage of them. It has night vision so it gives great image quality even in low light. This is thanks to the inclusion of Sony’s STARVIS sensor, which is sensitive to a wide range of light.
It is possible to download an app and use the camera’s Wi-Fi to instantly share or back-up footage from the camera. Settings on the camera can easily be adjusted from its screen, and the initial setup takes only around five minutes. The camera itself looks stylish and modern and is sure to be a welcome addition in any car. All you need to supply is a MicroSD card and you’re good to go.
Field of View: 640×360 pixel | Size: 64GB
3. Vanture N2
Best Features: Parking mode motion detection can record time lapse. Ultra wide 170 degree viewing angle.
Our next pick is a nice dash cam with GPS. The dual cameras on this model record both outside the vehicle as well as inside – outside is recorded in Full HD at 30fps whilst inside is captured at 1080×720 30fps. A memory card of up to 64GB can be inserted into this camera to ensure many hours of video footage can be saved. The angle of view inside the vehicle is 140 degrees, whilst outside is captured at an ultra wide angle of 170 degree. Despite this, there is almost no fish eye distortion effect. The camera can also be adjusted vertically 80 degrees to ensure the perfect viewing angle in any vehicle.
The 1080p video isn’t recorded on its own – audio is also captured on this model. If you wish, the audio can be turned off. A parking mode with motion detection also features on this camera – when the car is parked, the camera will automatically start if it detects motion around the car. In this mode, it will periodically capture photos at a set interval the whole time the car is parked, or just when motion is detected.
Resolution: 1440 p | Size: 134*96.5*113mm
4. Garmin Dash Cam 65
Best Features: Very wide viewing angle captures more. Works in low light.
Garmin is one of the top brands when it comes to finding the top dash camera. This one has a 2″ LCD display and records great quality, 1080p video at 30 frames per second. There are a few useful features like 180 degree FOV, voice control, and loop recording. This camera also has a G sensor which is a GPS tracking system that saves videos upon impact so it’s easy to use this location information to prove exactly where an event happened.
This camera can safely be controlled when driving, as it is voice-activated in English, French, German, and Italian. So, just by using voice commands, it’s possible to start or stop recording, take a photo, and more. You can use this camera to be warned of upcoming speed cameras, and it also has a lane departure feature that alerts the driver when they are drifting out of lane. Collision detection also features on this model to help prevent accidents.
Field of View: 180-degree | Resolution: 1080p, 720p
5. Anker Roav A1
Best Features: Works well day and night. Motion sensors for security when parked.
Our next pro dash cam offers excellent image quality – the Anker Roav captures quality video in 1080p Full HD , like many other dash cams. The whole road, up to four lanes, can be captured by the superwide angle. This is one of the best cams for those who drive at night as it has Sony NightHawk which enables license plates to clearly be read in the dark. If the car is parked, video recording will automatically start if the car is jolted thanks to the G sensor inside the camera. Hours and hours of video can be stored as the camera can take a memory card of up to 128GB, although anything over 64GB has to be formatted inside the camera before it will work.
Storage: A1 | Size: 2.5 inches
6. Anker Roav C2 Dash Cam
Best Features: Works in extreme temperatures. GPS.
Here we have another excellent Anker Roav, and this one can also capture up to four lanes at once. It is designed to function exceptionally well at night, so there’s no need to worry about footage from journeys in the dark being unusable. The lens is very high-quality and video clips will benefit from 5 lens elements and a wide dynamic range to ensure the video is always sharp. Extreme temperatures are no problem for this camera – it functions in temperatures ranging from -4F to 158F when using the power supply. In motion detection mode, using battery power, the camera works from 32F to 158F. The reason for the high tolerance of different temperatures is the camera’s steel frame, which directs heat away from the circuits inside.
There are two different types of mount included – suction or 3M stickers. The camera has a GPS antenna inside to track the route and the speed of every journey, so it is easy to pinpoint where an incident occurred. There is also a gravity sensor to ensure video recordings are made if something should bump your car when it is parked.
Field of View: 180 deg | Storage: 30
7. Thinkware Q800PRO Dash Cam
Best Features: Excellent video quality and build quality. Night vision capabilities so it’s ideal for taxi drivers.
If you are looking for a dash camera with driver assistance features such as lane departures and forwards collision warning, the Q800PRO from Thinkware is a great choice. It captures video in stunning 2K resolution, so it is very crisp and sharp so you can clearly read licenses of surrounding vehicles. The camera is also equipped with night vision, so driving in the dark is no problem. There is a cloud mobile app available for download with this camera, which allows you to check where your vehicle is using built in GPS, and to receive notifications if there is an accident involving your car. There’s an energy-saving parked mode too, which will keep your vehicle under surveillance even when it isn’t running.
The camera is designed to be discreet when mounted in the car – it is well-hidden so other drivers don’t have to know they are being recorded. Red light cameras and speed cameras can be warned about with this dash cam, so it can help make you a better and safer driver, and less likely to receive fines. There is also a rear camera to monitor from just about any angle.
Field of View: 140° angle | Storage: 20°~ 70°C (-4°~ 158°F) | Size:128GBS
8. VAVA Dual Cam
Best Features: Dual 1920x 1080P resolution recording at 30 fps. Covers up to 5 lanes and can be adjusted 360 degrees.
If you’re seeking the best dual dash cam that works in all lighting conditions, this VAVA could be just what you need. The front is captured at an angle of 155 degrees, whilst it’s 126 degrees for the rear. Both can be recorded simultaneously, too. Sony sensors are installed in this camera to help improve sensitivity no matter what the lighting is like. The camera uses WiFi to connect to a cell phone to configure the camera and download and share recorded footage to social media or with friends and family.
When the vehicle is parked, the camera acts as a surveillance camera and will automatically record a video if any movement or bumps are detected around the vehicle. Video recording will also start on a loop when a collision is detected, thanks to the G sensor inside the camera. This is ideal for helping your insurance company deal with claims. Drivers in any climate can use this camera – it operates from 14F to 122F, so it can be left inside the car on a hot day without damage. On battery power for parked mode, the temperature range is slightly different at 32F to 158F.
Field of View: 155 | Resolution: QHD 2560x1440p@30fps
9.Rove R2 Dash Cam
Best Features: Outstanding video quality. Supports large micro SD card.
Dash cams don’t always record the best quality videos, but the Rove R2 could be the best dash cam in this aspect, as the camera records in 4K ultra HD. Built-in WiFi allows you to instantly share and manage your footage from your phone – either iOS or Android. They can then be shared with family and friends or posted to social media to appeal for information about an event.
GPS in included with this cheap dash cam. The built in GPS records the car’s location as well as the speed at which it is traveling. The driving route can also be shown on Google Maps. The micro SD card capacity is up to a massive 512GB, so you can store many hours’ worth of video. There are a range of useful features with this cheap dash cam mini – slow-mo, time-lapse, 150-degree lens, emergency video lock, and more. The build quality on this model is excellent, too.
Resolution: 2160p | Size: 128gb
10. VAVA Pro Dash Cam
Best Features: 360 degree mount. Crisp and clear video.
Our penultimate pick is another VAVA, one of the best brands, and this one has some awesome features, just like the other VAVA model. It can capture 5 lanes of traffic simultaneously, thanks to the 155-degree viewing angle. Footage is captured at 60fps, so it’s easy to read plate numbers when watching back the videos.
A 360 degree mount is included so the camera can be positioned just how you like it in order to capture the perfect angle. The driving route can be captured and tracked on a map, using the camera’s GPS system. And, the speed in mph or km/h can also be tracked along with the route. WiFi connectivity also comes as standard with this cheap camera, so footage can be uploaded and shared with ease. This is ideal for sharing video evidence with the emergency services or for insurance purposes.
Parking mode uses the sensor to automatically record 1 or 2 minute segments of video to keep the car safe when it is parked. The camera is compact and easy to install, and remains well hidden when installed.
Storage: 256 GB
11. Chortau Front & Rear Dash Cams
Best Features: Covers a large angle front and back. Excellent temperature range.
Our final best cheap dash camera comes from Chortau, and it captures footage from both the front and the rear of the vehicle. The 170 degree angle is one of the widest of the dash cams reviewed here, and it captures most of the road so you are less likely to miss a crucial moment. The camera is easy to install and can be swiveled through 360 degrees to find the optimal angle. A SD card of up to 32 GB can be installed, and when the SD card gets full, the old footage is automatically overwritten. So, you don’t have to delete it manually – just save what you need.
When the car is started, the camera will automatically start recording. Upon switching off the vehicle, the recording will stop and the video will be saved. The video quality is 1080p resolution from both the front and back. The rear camera can also be used to assist when parking the car, perfect for fitting into tight spots in a busy parking lot. There is a 3 inch LCD offering excellent image quality and the camera works at a wide range of temperatures – -86F to +158F.
Resolution: 4.8 inch HD | Storage: 32GB | Size: 32gb
Best Budget high definition dash cam
After looking at more than 10 great picks, we have picked our favorite overall best value dash cam – the Anker Roav A1. It is one of the best dash cams because takes excellent quality video and works very well in low light. The cheap camera even monitors the car when you are away, so you can be sure it is always safe. There’s even an app to easily download and share videos from this Anker Roav dash cam, which is why it is our best buy.
If you’re after looking at more cameras for a low price tag, have a look at our best budget action camera picks.
best dash cam under 100
If you’re looking for the best inexpensive dash cam, we have another great pick at under $100. The Chortau at #11 on our guide above is the best in this case. It is very cheap but has some awesome features – most notably capturing footage from both in front of and behind your car.
If you have a little more money to spend, you might be interested in our premium pick dash camera – the Vanture N2. It covers almost 360 degrees and works at most temperatures. There are loads of great features so this camera is sure to prove useful.
Dashboard Camera Buyer’s Guide and FAQs
Considerations Choosing A dashboard camera
There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to picking between the different dash cams available. Let’s take a look at the main considerations below.
Whilst installing a dash cam can’t help prevent an accident, it can help prove who is at fault if one should occur. It also captures cars’ plate numbers to help identify other drivers involved in an accident should they drive off. Dangerous driving can also be captured on one of these cameras. Some cameras offer alerts if they detect you are driving unsafely, for example about to drift out of lane on the highway or if you get too near the vehicle in front.
Keeping your Eyes on the Road
Do not use a dash cam system as a substitute for keeping your eyes on the road whilst driving. Whilst the video files can be very useful, it’s crucial to concentrate on your surroundings – not just other vehicles but also the weather and road conditions, and pedestrians who might step out unexpectedly.
Insurance Matters and Help for Legal situations
As noted above, a dash cam can’t prevent an accident, but it can help find the culprit and prove who was at fault. This can help with insurance claims and increase the speed at which they are processed.
Dashcams Can Promote Caution
If you have a dash cam fitted every day, you will probably drive more carefully just by its presence. Even the best drivers can always make use of a reminder to take extra care!
Do dash cameras have night vision?
Some do and some don’t, so check the individual model before purchasing if you often drive and the dark and therefore require this feature. You can even find a dual dash cam with night vision capabilities if you want to capture footage from both the front and the back of the car, day and night.
Do dash cams lower insurance?
At the time of writing, no insurance companies offer a discount for drivers who have a pro dash cam fitted in their vehicle. However, there is a bill in committee which requires insurers in certain states to offer a percentage discount to those drivers who choose to install a camera in their vehicle.
Do dash cameras record sound?
Many record audio as well as video, and on some models you can switch the audio recording off if you want to record only video for any reason. It’s best to check with the dash cam description, which will tell you whether or not your chosen cam will record sound – many do, even cheap ones.
Do dash cams need to be plugged in?
The majority of these dash cams are powered by plugging them into the car’s cigarette lighter or power supply. Some also have a back-up battery so they can continue recording for a short period for example if there is an accident and the car is unable to continue providing power to the device. Ensure you have the right type of memory cards to ensure the videos are saved, too.