Dashcams can help determine who’s at fault in an accident, but they have other handy features too.
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Dashcams are a key car gadget for any car.
Their primary use is to record incidents on the road, like bumps or accidents. Some even record vandalism.
If you’re in an accident and need to make a claim on your car insurance, dash cam footage could help insurers determine who was at fault.
Having a dash cam fitted could lead to discounts on your insurance too, as it shows you’re happy to have your driving recorded.
Handy features like parking sensors make them a good investment too.
But with all the different features it’s difficult to know where to start. Let’s look at our top dash cam models for 2021.
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Features to look out for:
G-sensor: This nifty feature senses any unusual movement or event, for example a bump or sudden change in direction.
Once the footage is captured, it’s locked into the device’s memory. This means it won’t be deleted or recorded over.
Loop recording: Most dash cam footage is recorded on an SD card. With continuous recording, the card’s memory can fill up quickly.
Loop recording means your camera automatically records over footage that’s not being used.
Most won’t record over footage captured due to the G-sensor trigger. This is stored separately so you can view or download it if you need it.
All devices covered in this guide use G-sensors and loop recordings.
Recording quality: If you’re using your dash cam footage to support a car insurance claim, your insurer needs to see the event or accident recorded clearly.
This should help them work out who was at fault.
It’s worth getting a dash cam with a decent recording quality - 1080p or thereabouts should work.
Screen size: This isn’t as important with a dash cam as it is with a sat nav, but having a large screen might make it easier to see what happened in the event of an accident or mystery ding.
Parking monitor: Some dash cams come with a parking monitor. This means it can record footage even when your car is parked.
The parking monitor can sense movement, so if someone is trying to break in, it’s likely the camera would pick it up.
Front and rear camera and their field of view: Some dash cams automatically come with a second camera to monitor the rear of your car. Others just monitor the front of your car.
What you choose depends on what you want to record.
Having a rear-view camera could help monitor any rear-end shunts and bumps.
It’s also worth looking at the field of view angle too. This is how much of the road ahead or behind is being recorded.
The bigger the angle the better, as it means more of the road is being captured.
To help you navigate each dash cam’s key features, we’ve put together a table so you can see what each model offers at a glance.
|Recording Quality||Protects accident footage||Screen size||Monitors car when parked||Star-rating||Field of view for front camera||Field of view for rear camera|
4.5 stars based on 12,030 Amazon ratings
For under £30, this nifty camera has some great features, and it has the highest amount of 4.5 star ratings on Amazon too.
There are a few features that set this dashcam apart from the rest.
The first is its parking sensor. Say goodbye to those difficult parallel parks – reverse mode will help guide you into those awkward spaces you’ve avoided in the past.
You’ll also benefit from lifetime technical support, running 24/7.
4.5 stars based on 8,358 Amazon ratings
The Orskey dashcam records crystal clear footage at a low price.
You’ll be able to view saved and real-time footage clearly on the 3” LCD screen. Helpful for spotting any details that you may need later.
The display shows both the front and rear-view cameras so you can get a good idea of what’s going on around you.
The rear camera is waterproof, so you won’t have to sacrifice recording time because of wet weather. Particularly useful for UK weather conditions.
4.5 stars based on 5,335 Amazon ratings
We won’t get too technical here, but the Claoner dashcam uses a high aperture, which means it lets light in. That, combined with HDR filming, means you’ll get great footage day or night.
Reverse mode also means you’ll be able to see behind you, making it easier to complete those tricky manoeuvres.
The camera itself is easy to install too.
4.5 stars based on 582 Amazon ratings
You pay a bit more for this dashcam, but it’s worth it.
The front view camera is fully adjustable so you can get the perfect angle for recording.
The Viofo also uses the Sony Starvis IMX291 Sensor which – according to Viofo – captures better night vision than any other sensor. Ideal for capturing every detail on the road.
And when you’ve captured the footage, you can view it on your mobile.
If you have a bump or a crash, the more detail you can provide the better. A handy feature of the Viofo is its GPS mode.
It pinpoints the date, time and location of the event captured on camera.
Often, SD cards aren’t included as standard with dashcams. You can find these on Amazon relatively cheaply, just make sure they fit with your dashcam’s specifications.
How to fit a dash cam
This can vary depending on each model and where it draws its power.
Some dash cams draw power from a USB fitted to your cigarette lighter, while others are battery operated. Some need to be plugged into your car’s fuse box – which is a slightly trickier task.
Your car has two fuse boxes - one that’s usually under the hood for electrics like your lights, and another ‘comfort’ fuse box. This is for your cigarette lighter and your rear wiper to name a few.
You’ll need to plug the dash cam into the ‘comfort’ fuse box. You can find where this is in your car’s manual.
Halfords has some in depth instructions on how to install a dash cam, or they can fit it for you.
You’ll also need to make sure the dash cam is displayed correctly. Aim to fit it behind the rear-view mirror on the passenger’s side.
As we mentioned, you want to keep your dash cam’s image as clear as possible. So make sure you fit it within the area your windscreen wipers sweep. Try not to go beyond 40mm in that area though, as it could affect your view of the road.
Before you set off, make sure the camera is recording and that the image is clear with a good view of the road ahead.
Can I take a dash cam on holiday to use in a hire car?
Having a car accident somewhere unfamiliar is a worrying prospect, so having dash cam footage to hand could help when it comes to explaining what happened.
Whether you can use your dash cam in a hire car depends on the make and model of your dash cam and the car you’re hiring.
If your dash cam is hard wired to your regular car’s fuse box, removing it and installing it in a hire car could be difficult. And the hire car company might not be comfortable with it.
You might be able to do this if you have a dash cam that plugs into your cigarette lighter or runs on a battery.
It’s worth speaking to your car hire company about whether they’d be happy for you to use your dash cam in their car. As dash cams are becoming more common, they might already have one built in.