(Pocket-lint) - Dash cams are a great upgrade to your car setup. They add peace of mind while you're on the road, with an extra pair of (digital) eyes working as a witness should you ever be in an accident.
They're also useful for other things. Some car insurance companies offer discounts on your premium if you have a dash cam installed for example. Alternatively, they can be used to report motoring offences or simply prevent others from making malicious false claims against you.
If you're after a dash cam, then you've probably noticed there are quite a number to choose from. At a glance, it's hard to know which is the right one for you. To cut down on the fuss, we've been testing out a number of different dash cams to bring you the low-down on the best cameras to buy for your car.
We've been running these dash cams during our daily drive, testing them out in a variety of conditions, day and night, rain and shine, to find which offer the best features and results.
The following is our round-up of the best dash cams you can buy whatever your budget or capture goals.
Our Top Pick is currently the Viofo A139 3 channel dashcam. There are others worth considering too though, including the Nextbase 622GW dash cam, the Nextbase 222 dash cam, the Mio MiVue 798 Dash Cam and the Zenfox T3-3CH triple channel dash cam.
Our Top Pick
Viofo A139 3 channel dashcam
- Simple intelligent design
- Easy installation process
- Super capture quality
- No built-in display for real-time review
- Pricier than other options
On the face of it, the Viofo A139 is easily one of the best dash cam systems money can buy. It might not be as affordable as other dash cams on this list, but it is one of the most feature-packed cameras available.
As you might have gathered from the name, this is a triple camera dashcam system. It's designed to capture every useful angle of the car and be used by families, rideshare drivers and more.
It has one camera for the front, a second for the rear and a third internal camera for peace of mind.
The front-facing camera is capable of capturing video in 2K (2560 x 1440p30FPS) while the rear and internal cameras record HD footage (1920 x 1080P 30FPS).
You can, of course, choose to tweak settings on the camera and within the app. This includes various recording modes, timelapse and parking mode too. The parking mode intelligently detects bumps and events automatically and everything is designed to be convenient.
One thing we really like about this dashcam package is the attention to detail. The system uses a super slim coaxial cable to connect the front, rear and interior cameras. This makes it a lot easier to install and ensures cables don't get in the way with daily use and are much easier to hide.
The front camera can also be rotated 300 degrees, so you can easily position the lens facing the right way and there's an optional polarising lens to block excessive sun glare too. It's these little touches that make the Viofo A139 a joy to use.
There's an accompanying app that allows you to access footage and download it directly to your phone rather than having to transfer it to your PC first. Ideal if you need it in a hurry.
There's an easy access button to secure footage on this camera should you witness or be involved in an accident. It also has a "G-sensor" technology to detect crashes, collisions or near misses. Those recordings are "locked" so they can't get deleted as generally the recordings are done on a rolling basis, so when the card gets full it gets overwritten.
The result is a low maintenance, feature-rich dash cam that's capable of not only capturing great footage, but also can save your bacon if you happen to get rear-ended.
Other dash cams we recommend
There are a number of other dash cams worth looking at that we've tested - here are all the details.
Nextbase 622GW dash cam
- Simple mounting system
- Convenient quick release
- Support for Amazon Alexa
- Upgradable system
- Not as feature-rich as other systems
If you're looking for something that's easy to manage, with a simple interface and very little fuss then we'd suggest the Nextbase 622GW is the answer to your quest.
This dash cam has a number of fantastic features that include a large 3-inch touchscreen display, the ability to capture up to 4K footage at 30 FPS and a simple mounting design.
This dash cam boasts a quick release catch which means you can easily take it out of the car when not in use if you're worried about theft. There's also a suction cup mount as an alternative installation option. Like the other cameras on this list, this dash cam has a trim tool for easy installation too.
This dash cam has a rolling video capture capability and a large button to protect important footage from being overwritten. A quick tap on the touch screen also snaps a still photo should the need arise. You can then use this touchscreen to scroll through and replay captured footage without moving it to another device.
The Nextbase 622GW is an updated version of the company's very best dash cam with numerous superb features including smooth image stabilisation, enhanced night vision, super slow mode, extreme weather capture and what3words capabilities. That last feature can be used to help emergency services find your exact location with ease if you're in an accident.
It's also worth noting that Nextbase also has a system to help you easily submit footage to local police forces with ease, which is pretty neat.
The Nextbase 622GW is a superb dash cam, that's convenient, easy to use and packed full of great features for a very reasonable price.
Nextbase 222 dash cam
- Incredibly affordable design
- Simple click and go mounting system
- Excellent capture quality for the money
- Not as powerful as other models
If you're shopping on a budget, but still want something reliable and able to capture useful footage, then look no further than the Nextbase 222.
This camera is essentially the cheaper, less feature-packed brother of the 522GW. It might not have the touchscreen, the Amazon Alexa compatibility or the ability to capture 1440p footage, but that doesn't mean it should be overlooked.
The Nextbase 222 is an easy to use dash cam that's simple to install, convenient to use and is capable of capturing up to 1080p footage as well.
Alongside the standard road-facing footage capture, this camera also has an Intelligent Parking Mode. This can be used to keep an eye on your car when you're not in it.
Park in a car park and nip off to the shops and the camera will automatically switch into this mode - only recording if it senses a bump or shunt. Meaning if someone reverses into your car while you're away and makes off without leaving a note you'll have footage to prove it.
This system is available on other dash cams too, but having the feature on such an affordable camera is certainly a bonus. Other highlights include a simple mounting system that makes it easy to take the camera down and into the house with you if you want to keep it safe or check the recorded footage.
All told, the 222 is a fantastic camera for the money and does not disappoint.
Mio MiVue 798 Dash Cam
- Clever alert systems
- Lets you know about speed cameras
- Can capture up to 2.5K QHD 1600p
- Pricey for a single camera
If you demand more from your dash cam and want something that does more than just capture footage then how about one that also spots speed cameras and helps ensure your safety on the road?
The Mio MiVue 798 seemingly has it all. It sports Sony's premium STARVIS CMOS sensor, along with a 150-degree wide-angle lens that's capable of capturing up to 2.5K footage at 25 FPS.
It also boasts several intelligent features that include smart alerts for fatigue warnings, headlight reminders, lane departure warnings and more.
One of these alerts is a "safety camera warning" system that will let you know when you're approaching a speed camera and highlight your current speed so you don't get any unnecessary/accidental tickets.
The others are intended to help reduce the chances of you getting into an accident by drifting into other lanes or overdoing it.
The Mio MiVue 798 has a G sensor for recording "events" like high-speed driving, aggressive braking, crashes and more. The footage it captures is fantastic too. All told, this is a fantastic camera for the money and a great choice if you happen to have a heavy right foot.
Zenfox T3-3CH triple channel dash cam
- Clever camera for safety inside and out
- Works for everyone
- Superb Sony STARVIS sensors
- Not a subtle installation
The Zenfox T3-3CH is an excellent option for those who not only need eyes on the road but an inside view of the vehicle too.
Whether for safety sake or for peace of mind, taxi drivers or Uber drivers or those involved in lift sharing will appreciate this triple camera setup.
Not only does this camera record both a front and back view, but also a nice wide-angle view of the inside of the vehicle too.
The main camera can capture 1440p footage while the inside and rear capture at 1080p. Sony STARVIS sensors and Wide Dynamic Range tech and IR LEDs mean you get a great view from every camera whatever the conditions.
This one is easy to adjust too, with cameras that can be moved to the perfect position with ease. All this from a single power source as well. Fantastic.
As you'd expect, the Zenfox T3-3CH has a built-in G-sensor supporting variable sensitivity, so it'll automatically capture and save footage in the event of an accident. You can also protect important clips with a click of a button too. Other highlights include built-in GPS accurately records the driving route, location, speed and time too, but for us, it's the usability of this triple camera setup that makes it appealing.
How to choose a dash cam
There are a few things to consider when purchasing a dash cam. Not just the capture quality and how good that will look if you ever need to review it or submit it to the police or other agency but also the features.
If your car spends a lot of time parked in public car parks when you're away from it then intelligent parking features on some of these cameras make them more valuable.
If you're sharing rides with others or if your job involves regularly driving people (or things) from place to place, then one of the multi-camera systems would be a good choice. These dash cams not only keep an eye on the outside of your vehicle, but give the necessary coverage for everyone inside too.
We've looked at the best dash cams which offer a good range of features, simple installation and great capture quality. As you'll see, any of those on this list will be a good choice to purchase.
More about this story
There are a number of factors we consider when looking at recommending products, and every dash cam in this list has been thoroughly tried and tested in real-life situations.
We've driven with them installed during the day and night and through all sorts of weather. We've tried out the parking modes, we've saved footage randomly and using the hard braking systems to capture it too. We've reviewed capture footage for quality and sound and checked they all performed well under pressure.
With the multi-camera systems, we've also checked on what can be seen and heard of the passengers and how well that footage could be used. We've checked the apps and the usability of the dash cams to ensure you're getting a great experience when you buy.
We've tested these so we can be sure they deliver the best quality. What we aren't interested in is pointless number crunching or extraneous details - we just want to provide an easy to understand review that gives you an idea of what it's going to be like to use.
We’ve been covering tech since 2003, and, in many cases, have not only reviewed the product in question, but the previous generations, too - right back to the first model on the market.
There are also plenty of models we've considered that didn't make the cut in each of our buyer's guides.