After testing 80+ dash cameras over seven years, this page is a summary of what we think are the best cameras for drivers depending on their needs. All our recommendations have many hours of hands-on testing and only chosen after thinking deeply about what matters for drivers and comparing against other choices on the market.
The Best Value Cameras for Most Drivers
The following two cameras are our top choices for most drivers on the market unless you have specific needs. They have some of the best performance and reliability on the market for their price range.
While both cameras picked are from the same company, we only chose these cameras after extensive hands-on testing which included other competitive cameras and researching many more. Viofo has , and this is not a sponsored review. We have purchased all cameras at full retail price since 2017 to reduce bias.
Top Value Pick – $80 USD
Resolution: 1440P – 30FPS | Wifi: No | GPS: Optional $10 Mount | Circular Polarizer: Optional $20 | Lens: Glass 6G f/1.8 | Field of View: 160° | Processor: Novatek NT96660 | Sensor: Omnivision OV4689 | Parking Mode: Yes – Motion, Timelapse
After three years on the market, the A119 is still the first camera we recommend to drivers. It has all the features we think are essential. Dash Cam technology hasn’t made improved much since we first covered this camera. Newer models don’t match the A119’s combination of price, sharp video quality, stealthiness, and heat resistance.
While the A119 lacks WiFi, for $70 to $80 USD, it’s the most complete camera we could find at that price. It has a history of proven reliability. You’ll be happy with its performance if you’re looking to spend under $100 USD.
Viofo A129 DUO
Front & Back Camera Upgrade – $170 USD
Resolution: 1080P + 1080P | Wifi: Yes 5ghz | GPS: Optional $10 Mount | Circular Polarizer: Optional $20 | Lens: Glass 7G f/1.6 | Field of View: 160° | Processor: Novatek NT96663 | Sensor: Sony Starvis | Parking Mode: Yes – Motion, Timelapse
Released in May 2018, Viofo’s A129 Duo is a significant upgrade to the A119. First, it adds a rear-facing camera which improves protection in hit and run accidents as it gives you an additional chance of capturing a license plate.
It also adds Wifi to change settings, stream and download saved videoes. The video quality is improved as it uses Sony’s Starvis sensors, which is a step up over the A119’s sensor at night.
Normally, you would be paying a premium ($300+) to get these features but Viofo knows how to design a good camera. We’ve been waiting a long time to find a good budget dual-lens camera. It’s been over a year since we reviewed the Mini 0906 (YouTube Review) and Aukey DR02D (YouTube) which had significant flaws or missing features.
You can buy the front camera separately if you want a WiFi equipped camera but don’t want the rear camera as it is harder to install. We think it’s not worth it, but you may feel differently.
See Our YouTube Review: Viofo A129 Duo
Premium Upgrade – Best Front Back Cameras
Our premium picks are the best of what’s available in performance, features, and customer support. While you’ll spend more money versus the Viofo A129, there are a few benefits.
- Stylish: Important for many luxury vehicle owners who don’t want an industrial looking unit.
- Better Features & Performance: Cloud recording, reliable and efficient parking modes, spoken notifications
- Improved Reliability & Customer Service: In general, these companies will have better assembly and quality control. Their retailers are more knowledgeable and have better support if things go wrong.
See our YouTube video review for our latest premium dash cam picks. Please excuse us while we rewrite this section. For now, here’s a summary of our picks:
The Best Video Quality & Cloud Features – $480 USD
Resolution: 2160P + 1080P @ 30FPS | Wifi: Yes AC 5ghz | GPS: Yes | Circular Polarizer: Third Party – $35 | Lens: Unknown | Field of View: 162° & 139° | Processor: HiSilicon HI3559 | Sensor: Omnivision OS08A10 & Sony Starvis | Parking Mode: Yes – Motion, Timelapse
Blackvue’s DR900S is the first true 4K front camera and 1080P rear camera system from a major manufacturer. The 4K resolution significantly improves day sharpness; you can pick up license plates from much further away. Unfortunately, night quality about the same as other leading cameras on the market.
When connected to a WiFi hotspot (router or cellular modem) the DR900S’ cloud system can stream videos and push impact notifications to your phone. This feature is quite useful if you’re worried about vandalism or hit and runs while you’re parked.
Thinkware F800 PRO
Best Parking Camera – $380 USD
Resolution: 1080P + 1080P @ 30FPS |Wifi: Yes | GPS: Yes | Circular Polarizer: Only On F800 D+ Model | Lens: 6G F/1.9 | Field of View: 140° & 140° | Processor: Ambarella A12A55 | Sensor: Sony Starvis | Parking Mode: Yes – Motion, Timelapse, Energy-Save
Best Parking Mode Features & Energy Efficiency
Lowest energy consumption for extended recording combined with Thinkware’s style and reputation for reliability. Has unique features like vocal impact reports and impact-only recording to improve parking mode usability.
Use coupon code “CarCamCentral30” for $30 off
Our pick for the best-parking dash cam. It’s much more energy efficient compared to Blackvue and Street Guardian, especially with its unique energy-saving impact only mode. When activated, it only records after sensing a collision with your vehicle. As well a vocal report after camera exits parking mode lets you know if your car has been hit.
Compared to the DR900S, it has worse video quality and a cloud mode that works but has fewer features including live video streaming and push notifications. You want to get the F800 Pro only for focused parking recording.
Street Guardian SG9663DC PRO
Best Heat Resistance, Value & Customer Support – $300
Resolution: 1080P + 1080P @ 30FPS |Wifi: Yes N | GPS: Yes | Circular Polarizer: Included | Lens: 6G F/1.9 | Field of View: 140° & 140° | Processor: Ambarella A12A55 | Sensor: Sony Starvis | Sony StarvisParking Mode: Yes – Motion, Timelapse, Energy-Save
The SG9663DC Pro brings exceptional value to the premium space. That’s not only because of the price but also the solid customer service and focus on reliability by the manufacturer. Their 2-year warranty is longest of all the premium cameras (normally 1-year) and a major reason we like this camera.
Street Guardian has always designed their cameras conservatively using technology that is proven to work under adverse conditions. Besides the camera’s high-temperature rating and excellent video quality, they included many useful accessories including a circular polarizer, extra cables, and a cable hider.
In January, the SG9663DC was upgraded to the Pro version which changed the rear sensor from Sony’s Exmor to Starvis. This improves low-light night vision. As well, cable shrouds were included to hide and improve the cleanliness of your installation.
Versus the Viofo A129 DUO
While the SG9 looks and has similar specs to the A129 DUO, the main difference is the 2-year warranty, customer support, and accessories. Understandably that’s not worth it to everyone but for many especially in harsh climates, the SG9 is a solid buy.
The Cheap Picks
Blueskysea B1W – $55
Warm Weather Cheap Pick
There are a few reasons to spend the money on the Viofo A119 if possible. The A119’s day video is much sharper and can help you pick up fast-moving license plates. The night quality is also better but not the dramatic differences compared to the day footage. The B1W’s microphone quality can sound noisy and somewhat garbled, but you can hear what is said.
Yi Dash Cam – $45
Cheap Pick for Cool Climates
For users in cooler environments (ex London, UK) the Yi is a fantastic choice two years after its release. It has a history of great reliability, sharp 1296P video quality and customer service. At $45 it’s the cheapest camera we can recommend but, it isn’t a good choice for warmer locations as the video becomes blurry as the heat affects the focus. As well, many people find the silvery metallic finish too noticeable. It also uses lithium-ion batteries which have swelled and damaged the camera in the past.
If you live somewhere warm or want something stealthier, we strongly recommend buying the BlueSkySea B1W. However, in cooler environments, the Yi has shaper video quality than the B1W Dash Cam with a smoother WiFi interface.
Read Our Full Review: Yi Dash Cam Review
Choosing the Right SD Card
Endurance SD cards have better durability which matters as dash cameras put a lot of wear and tear on the memory card, eventually causing it to fail. Certain features like 3D MLC memory are important, but it’s not obvious what to purchase.
Our Top Pick
When dash cams overwrite older video files, that process permanently damages the memory card. The Pro Endurance is rated to last two times longer over our former top picks the Sandisk and Transcend High Endurance cards. We like the 64GB card over the 32GB option for its longer warranty (3 vs 2 years) and hours of 1080P videos recorded (26280 vs 12000 hours). If you need to save money get the 32GB card over a non-endurance card like the Sandisk Ultra A1.
Read Our Full Review: MicroSD Cards We Recommend for Dash Cameras