best dash cams

Best Dash Cams For 2021 – 5 Car Ready Recommendations

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A dash cam can give you peace of mind when you’re out on a road trip. They can provide indisputable video evidence in the unfortunate case of an accident.

You never know when you might need one, but trust me when I say, you’ll be happy you bought one if you do. It might save you money on your road trip!

The problem is, finding the best dash cams can be overwhelming. There are so many makes and models, it’s tough to know where to start. 

Fortunately, we’ve trawled through and come up with a list of the best dash cams out there, so you can pick the right one.

In this article, we’ll share 5 recommended models, with varying price points and features.

Best Dash Cams: Features to Look Out For

A dashcam is one of the best road trip accessories you can get. In my opinion, it should feature in any road trip packing list.

But where do you start?

The best dash cams on the market have similar technology, and it’s down to you to decide which features you are looking for.

For example, the video quality might be the most important feature to you.

Or you might find you want additional features that enhance your driving and user experience. These might include:

  • GPS
  • Night vision
  • Voice control
  • Wi-Fi
  • Touch screen
  • G-Sensor-based incident detection technology (ensures recordings during incidents are saved)

Best Dash Cams

As with all technology, additional features usually mean a higher price. In this article, we’ve listed our 5 best dash cams, depending on your priorities.

For each one, you’ll find a description, a breakdown of the main features and a summary of the pros and cons.

They are:

Best All-Round Dash Cam

Best Premium Dash Cam

Smallest Dash Cam

Best Budget Dash Cam

Best Value Dash Cam

1. Best All-Round Dash Cam

When it comes to the best “all-round” dash cam, that means looking at everything.

Price is important, and this cam is by no means the most expensive in this list.

However, a great all-round dash cam needs to boast an impressive array of features. And that’s exactly what this cam does.

It’s at the higher end of the price range, however exceptional video quality, the compact size, and integrated features are what make it stand out.

Garmin 66W

Garmin 66W

Price: $233.99USD

Screen: 2.0-inch LCD

Video Quality: 1440p

Lens Angle: 180-degrees

Garmin is a well-known action camera and fitness tracker brand, and it appears to have applied its knowledge of this field to dash cam.

The Garmin Dash Cam 66W is the replacement to the highly-rated Garmin 55.

High-Quality Video

The new 66w model still has a compact discreet design but increases the field of view from 122 to an extra-wide 180 Degrees, giving a much better view of the road ahead. The cam captures crisp 1440p footage and Garmin Clarity HDR (High Dynamic Range) video recording provides increased detail in low-light situations

Multiple Camera Synchronisation

A premium feature is the Wi-Fi smartphone connection and free Garmin Drive app which allows you to connect up to four cameras at once with synchronized video recording. This gives a 360-degree view from your car!

Slick Design

The design is also actually quite attractive. It’s sleek and compact (taking up less windscreen space) and much resembles a GoPro or action camera. This means it doesn’t look overpowering or out of place like some of the larger dash cam models might.

Voice Control

Finally, probably the most useful feature is integrated is voice control. You can tell the camera to save a video, start or stop recording and to activate certain features such as Travelapse, all without touching the screen.

Battery Life

The main downside is the relatively low battery life of just 30 minutes (when not plugged into your car).

However, you can opt for a professional to install the camera (or cameras), which means they will stay on even when parked and record at all times. Helpful for if someone bumps you while you’re not there!

The additional features and ultra-wide viewing lens set this camera apart and make it our best all-rounder.

What’s good?

  • Compact
  • High resolution 1440p video at 60 fps
  • Extra-wide 180-degree field of view
  • Integrated GPS

What’s not so good?

  • Higher price

2. Best Premium Dash Cam

As you’d expect, the best “premium” dash cam in this list is the most expensive.

But there’s a reason for that.

Not only does this cam boast super high-quality video (as you’d expect from a premium cam), but it also boasts premium features.

Built-in Alexa makes it much more than just a dash cam, while the intelligent parking mode and emergency SOS provide superb safety features that you don’t get in cheaper models.

If you’re looking for luxury and additional safety features, this is the cam for you.

Nextbase 522GW

Nextbase 522GW

Price: $259.99 USD

Screen: 3.0-inch LCD

Video Quality: 1440p

Lens Angle: 140-degrees

The Nextbase 522GW is an impressive camera and one of the best dash cams in this list for all-round performance. It boasts high-quality basics such as video recording, but what sets it apart are the features never before seen in a dash cam.

Let’s break them down:

Amazon Alexa

It’s the first dash cam available with built-in Amazon Alexa. Now you can play music, make calls, listen to audiobooks, hear the news, check the weather, control smart home devices, get directions and find a parking spot, all whilst safely driving.

Emergency SOS

Also included is the impressive and potentially life-saving Emergency SOS. In the event of an incident where the driver is unresponsive, Emergency SOS will alert the emergency services of your location and other details.

Intelligent Parking Mode

The 522GW also has ‘Intelligent Parking Mode’ which automatically records any bump or physical movement on the vehicle when left unattended.

But it’s not just these features

High-Quality Video

As previously mentioned, the video recording is also of a high standard, with crisp, 1440p HD resolution at 30 fps.

Menu System

The only downside to this cam is the menu system which looks a touch out-dated; the design isn’t quite as smooth as the equivalent Garmin models.

In conclusion, the 522GW is rated as our best premium dash cam due to its impressive features and strong performance of the basics.

What’s good?

  • Built-in Alexa
  • Emergency SOS
  • Excellent video quality – 1440p HD
  • Integrated GPS

What’s not so good?

  • Slightly dated user system

3. Smallest Dash Cam

The smallest dash cam in this list doesn’t need much explanation.

The compact body of this cam takes up very little space. Unfortunately, such a minimalist design means that luxury features such as a screen or GPS are sacrificed. But it also means the price is a little friendlier.

This compact dash cam is best for those looking for a no-nonsense cam that won’t get in the way.

Garmin Mini

Garmin Mini

Price: $129.99 USD

Screen: No screen

Video Quality: 1080p

Lens Angle: 140-degrees

The Garmin Mini Dash Cam is the smallest dash cam available. It is extremely compact and will fit nicely out of sight behind your rearview mirror.

The small size of this cam means it has a pretty simple functionality. It performs exactly as a dash cam, and no more. There are no fancy features such as GPS, but it simply captures high-quality 1080p footage. You’re paying for a compact, easy-to-use camera.

What’s good?

  • Tiny design for taking up less space
  • Low Price
  • Quick-release mount

What’s not so good?

  • No screen
  • No GPS

4. Best Value Dash Cam

The best value dash cam in this list is where I believe you get the most bang for your buck. More budget-friendly than the higher-end options, yet still boasting some excellent features.

You get a lense angle and high-quality video to rival some of it’s more expensive counterparts, as well as G sensor technology.

This affordable dash cam is the perfect option for you if you don’t want to break the bank but still want a high performing cam for your car.

Z-Edge Z3

Z-Edge Z3

Price: $94.99 USD

Screen: 3.0-inch LCD

Video Quality: 1440p

Lens Angle: 155-degrees

The Z-Edge Z3 is a highly rated affordable dash cam. It won ‘Best Dash Camera 2016’ voted by Wirecutter and has even had some upgrades since.

Impressive Video Quality

This affordable cam has an impressive ‘Ultra 2K HD’ image quality and a broad 155-degree viewing angle.  The CMOS image sensor makes sure you get super sharp footage, allowing you to easily make out license plates and capture incidents.

Simple Functionality

The camera also boasts a simple user interface. The 3-inch touchscreen makes interacting with the camera easy, and most of the functionality has been automated for ease of use.

G-Sensor Technology

The built-in G-sensor triggers motion vibration detection recording ensuring all incidents are recorded and easy to find, and parking mode watchdog gives you 24/7 surveillance of your vehicle.

Great Value

Although it has fewer features than some of its counterparts (such as no Wi-Fi or GPS), this camera is simple to use and captures great quality footage. What’s more, by avoiding some of the pricier features, it comes at a solid price making it one of the best dash cams.

What’s good?

  • Great Video quality: 2K and 1080p (Full HD)
  • Easy to use
  • 32GB MicroSD card included

What’s not so good?

  • No integrated GPS
  • No Wi-Fi

5. Best Budget Dash Cam

The most budget-friendly dash cam on this list is still an impressive piece of kit. Just because it’s kinder on your wallet, doesn’t mean you have to compromise on what’s important.

Sure, there’s no fancy GPS system or voice-activated features. But this cheap dash cam does exactly what it is designed to do. Provide high-quality video and extra security when driving.

Crosstour Dash Cam

Crosstour Dash Cam

Price: $37.99 USD

Screen: 3.0-inch LCD

Video quality: 1080p

Lens Angle: 170-degrees

The Crosstour dash cam is an excellent option for someone who doesn’t want to break the bank but wants the added security a dash cam can provide.

High-Quality Video

Despite the low price, this compact camera has full HD 1080p resolution meaning you can clearly capture any needed video.

WDR Technology

WDR technology means the dash cam performs optimally in low light situations and at night. Another important feature is the built-in G-sensor which detects any sudden shakes or collisions and automatically saves the footage. An HDMI port makes video playback easy.

Battery Life and Memory

On the flip side, the battery of the cam is only for emergency file back up; external power is required for operation. There is also no internal storage and an SD card must be purchased separately.

All in all, this camera provides the necessary features at an extremely competitive price and is the perfect budget-friendly model.

What’s good?

  • Low price
  • Wide 170-degree lens

What’s not so good?

  • No integrated GPS
  • No internal storage or SD card (must be purchased separately)

So there you have it. The 5 best dash cams on the market – one for every budget.

Which dash cam do you like the look of?

Leave a comment below and let us know!

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