Dash Cam Reviews
Dash Cam Reviews: Find the best dashcam for your car
Having a dash cam in your car can give you solid evidence in the event of a crash or criminal damage. Dash cameras have been successfully used to defend against insurance claims which would otherwise have meant a loss of no claims bonus.
Finding the right dashcam for you can be a tricky task, but we've done some of the legwork for you. Check out our dashcam reviews and guides and decide what's right for you and your car.
We'll take you through the must have features for a dashcam, and what to avoid. We've tested the latest in in-car camera technology and provided a useful visual rating system.
Dashcam? What is a Dash Cam?
A Dashcam, or dash cam is a small camera which records your car journey from your point of view. They are small and non obtrusive, with most dash cameras being as small, or smaller than your typical satellite navigation system. Dashcams are an excellent way to ensure you don't become a victim of a "crash for cash" type scheme, where someone intentionally causes a crash in order to claim from your insurance policy.
Single or Dual?
These are the two most common dash camera types, with a single camera kit consisting of one camera and a dual kit consisting of 2 (usually linked) cameras.
Single Dash Camera
A single dash camera kit generally consists of one single in-car camera which can be mounted either front facing, out of your front window, or rear facing, out of the rear window - the most common place to mount a single camera is on the dashboard (hence the term dashcam or dash camera) or behind the rear view mirror, facing out of the front window.
Dual Dash Camera Kit
A dual dashcam kit consists of 2 cameras, usually linked together although they can also come as 2 single cameras. The idea is to have one camera facing forward and one facing out the rear of your car, you can then capture video from both ends - if you get rear ended in a crash a rear facing camera will capture this, whereas a single camera facing out the front would not.
When buying a dashcam, perhaps the biggest consideration is the video quality. A poor quality recorder will of course save poor quality video, we always recommend an HD quality dash cam to ensure you get the best possible video playback quality.
The standard HD quality of 1080p is readily available and need not break the bank, with units starting well below the £100 mark, it's worth paying for. Some dashcams support Ultra-HD although these are understandably more expensive, and the extra quality is often not worth the extra cost, unless you are doing professional filming of track days or similar.
Whilst being able to watch back your journey is the key reason for having a dash cam, if you don't have a date and time stamp on the video then it will be harder to use as evidence should you find yourself involved in an accident, almost all dash cameras come with date and time stamping as standard, but be weary of cheap Chinese clones which are more lacking in features.
This is also a fairly standard feature - when the camera detects a sudden impact via the g-sensor it will save the recording in order to preserve any footage of the possible accident which has occured.
This is often included in the more premium cameras and will add things such as speed, and your location via GPS coordinates or even street names onto your video recording - this is particularly useful to prove you were not speeding at the time of a crash or other incident.
Whilst most HD cameras are excellent at recording in daylight, however, night time driving is where they fall over and become less useful, without night vision, dash cameras are likely to be affected by the glare of oncoming vehicles, street lights and even traffic lights. A unit with night vision capabilities will record flawless video day or night - they are of course marginally more expensive, but unless you only drive during the day we'd highly recommend a camera with night vision functionality.
Parking or Valet mode
This option allows you to place the camera into a "stand-by" type state, it will act as a motion sensor when your car is parked up, and should it detect motion it will start to record, it will automatically stop recording when no motion is detected for a short period, for example 20 seconds.
This is useful if your area has a history of car vandalism or other malicious activity which you would like to capture - the downside of this is that the dash camera will need to be hardwired into your car, and the camera itself may become a target for thieves.
This feature will power your dashcam on when you start your car, and switch it off when you turn off the ignition (with the exception of the above parking mode) - this is particularly useful if you're forgetful, there's nothing worse than being involved in an accident only to find you forgot to turn on your dash camera when you started your journey.
Lock or Save button
Dashboard cameras with this button allow you to quickly save the current recording for later review - this will mean the file is flagged on the camera and will not be overwritten by subsequent recordings. If something you wish to review later happens you can quickly press this button and easily find the footage later.
A playback screen
Whilst not all dashcams have a screen (nor do they need one!) it is nice to have, you can quickly play back footage in the event of an incident happening nearby - did you witness a hit and run? No problem - play the footage back for the police, they'll be eternally grateful!
Dashcams and insurance
Insurance companies are slowly beginning to recognise the pros of their customers having a dashcam fitted. Some companies are now offering a discount to customers who have a dash camera in their car when taking out a new policy, whilst others have stated that it is something they may do in future.
Dash cameras can only be a good thing when it comes to insurance, at worst it may protect your no claims bonus if someone claims you were at fault when you clearly weren't, and at best you may get a nice chunk off your insurance renewal. Swiftcover are offering a discount of between 10% and 13% to customers who have a dashcam fitted, for new or young drivers that could be £100's, but even for veteran drivers, 10% is still a nice discount to have!