Five of the best dash cams you can get this year
We take a look at the multitude of dash cams available and pick out our top five
Demand for dash cams – cameras mounted in your car to record what’s happening – has rocketed in recent years.
With prices of devices falling, drivers have realised the value of a recording of any incident, be it a collision, near-miss or simply an odd occurrence you want to share with friends.
As a result, there's now a confusing array of devices on offer.
We’ve looked through what the market has to offer and simplified it down to the best dash cams for your needs and budget.
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Best for price - Motorola MDC150
You can buy less expensive dash cams, but for just a few pounds more the Motorola MDC150 offers a much better piece of kit.
The MDC150 offers 1080p HD video recording with a 150-degree lens and has a colour 2.0-inch LCD display on the back.
You’ll have to buy a micro SD card to record onto, but you’ll still have a set-up that costs less than £50.
The MDC150 is secured to the windscreen with a suction mount - something that will appeal to people who don’t like to permanently stick a base-pad to the screen.
The Motorola device records a loop of footage and when it detects a collision – via a g-sensor – it stores that particular loop of footage.
The compact device also has a night mode so that you’ll still capture footage when you’re out in the dark.
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Best for features - Nextbase 522GW
Nextbase is one of the best-known names in the dash cam world. The 533GW is not only one of its most award-winning devices, but it’s crammed with features for a reasonable price.
To start with, the quality of the recordings is first rate and the camera copes impressively well with sub-optimal lighting conditions.
However, it’s for the features that we’ve picked this. This handy dash cam has Alexa built in, so you can ask it for directions, play music or make a call.
The Nextbase 522GW will automatically call the emergency services in the event of a more serious accident, and it has GPS built in for location and speed recording.
It can wirelessly connect to a dedicated app on your phone, has a parking mode, and comes with free cloud storage to keep your footage safe. And all this for less than £120.
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Best for rear-facing camera - BlackVue DR900S-2CH
If you’re after the best dash cam that records both the road ahead and the one behind, then you can’t get better than the BlackVue DR900S-2CH.
It may be at the upper end of this list in terms of pricing, but remember you’re getting two cameras, not one.
The front camera records in 4K ultra HD, while the rear camera has full HD capability. Users rave about the quality of the footage taken at both night and day.
The addition of a rear-facing camera means that if you’re hit from behind, you’ll capture the scene.
It can also be useful to show how an incident unfolds, especially if it starts behind you, but the end result is in front of the car.
The BlackVue dash cam is also loaded with features such as GPS for speed and location, WiFi for easy footage transfer and a parking mode.
Plus, the DR900S has one of the sleekest designs on the market.
Best for image - Garmin 66W
If you must have the best camera in your dash cam, then the Garmin 66W is for you.
Not only does it have excellent HD recording and first rate low-light capability, but it’s also got an ultra wide, 180-degree lens. Typically, rival systems use lenses covering between 130-160 degrees.
The wide-angle lens means you’ll capture more of the road ahead (and to the sides). You can even buy an optional polarising filter for £18 that will reduce reflections when shooting through the windscreen.
On top of being great for image quality, the Garmin 66W has voice control to save footage, a driver drowsiness warning and alerts for speed cameras.
Best for ease of use - Z-Edge T4
The Z-Edge T4 takes the crown for ease of use thanks to a 4-inch colour touchscreen on the back of the device.
The sizable screen means the T4 can offer larger buttons to press. Plus the menu system is simple and intuitive.
The Z-Edge dash cam has the added advantage of offering a dual-camera system so you can mount the second, rear-facing, gadget in the back of your car.
Both cameras record in HD and the front cam has a wide 155-degree lens.
What should I consider when buying a dash cam?
All dash cams record the road ahead, but there are a few criteria to keep in mind when picking a device that suits you.
These criteria include image quality, cost, ease of use, ease of installation, connectivity and additional features.
When assessing image quality, it’s worth keeping in mind that you don’t just drive when it’s sunny and bright, but also at night and when it’s raining.
That means you need your dash cam to work well in all these conditions. Then if something does happen, you’ll be able to make out clearly what went on and who was at fault.
You can get some inexpensive dash cams, starting from as low as £20. But for a quality device prices start from around £40.
Most people will want a device that’s easy to use. It's worth noting that you don’t need to sacrifice features to have a simple dash cam.
In a similar vein, look for a dash cam that’s easy to fit. This goes for the initial installation and removing and refitting when you get in and out of the car.
Beyond these points there are a host of features that you may or may not need such as an additional rear-facing camera, simple file transfer to your phone and even having Alexa built in.