Don’t take the blame for an accident that wasn’t your fault. We’ve got the best dash cams and multi-camera setups for every budget
There are around 120,000 road traffic accidents in the UK in the average year – and that’s only the incidents reported. Rising cost pressures are pushing up the price of car insurance, while fraudsters are hitting motorists with crash for cash and brake-slamming scams. For all these reasons, it’s well worth investing in a dash cam. Having a video recording of an incident can help the police establish who’s at fault, or provide crucial evidence when it’s your word against another driver or a scammer. This can help protect your no-claims bonus and avoid any undeserved points on your licence. It pays to be prepared.
Dash cams are now surprisingly cheap, compact and easy to fit, while the quality keeps getting better. We’ve tested the most popular products from the major manufacturers, plus a few smaller ones, to help you find the dash cam with the capabilities you’re looking for at a cost you can afford.
How to choose the best dash cam for you
How much should I spend?
Dash cams can cost anywhere from £40 to £300 or more. Cheaper models will shoot 1080p Full HD video onto a microSD card, but won’t have the higher resolutions, video quality or advanced features of the more expensive models. Premium dash cams will have 1440p or 4K resolutions, higher frame rates, better-quality lenses and video quality enhancements that are designed to ensure you get the clearest, smoothest footage possible. What’s more, they may have more advanced features to detect a collision and safeguard any relevant footage, along with built-in GPS to help them track your speed and position, which could be useful if you’re involved in an incident. Some even have special driver-safety features to help you avoid that happening.
Cheaper models may do away with extras such as a live-view screen. These are useful when you’re setting up the camera, but not essential once that’s done. What’s more, many dash cams are now designed to work in concert with a smartphone app, communicating via Bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi. With these, you use your smartphone to position and adjust the camera, and you can even use the app to review and protect footage or even upload it to the cloud.
Is a dual-camera dash cam worth it?
Many dash cams now come in single- or dual-camera versions, with the dual cam version fitting in a second camera into the main unit, or including a smaller camera that you can fit to the rear windscreen. Some even include three cameras, with one recording the view through the windscreen, another the view through the rear windscreen, and a final camera recording what’s going on inside the car – often with infrared lighting for visibility after dark.
Additional cameras can be useful, especially if you’re a professional taxi, Uber or delivery driver, and you want a record of what happens in the vehicle. A rear-view camera can prove handy to capture a shunt from behind. However, the extra camera or cameras will need to be wired up to the main unit, which can mean running huge lengths of cable between the front and back of your car, often along the windows or under the floor mats. You can decide for yourself whether the cost and effort is really worth it.
Do I need a memory card?
Most dash cams need a microSD card to store footage, and while some will come with one bundled, they’re often on the small side. This can be a problem because when most dash cams run out of space they start saving new footage over the existing footage.
However, it will generally lock any files where it’s detected any kind of incident, and you can normally lock them manually by pressing a button on the dash cam when you know you’ll want that file.
We wouldn’t recommend buying a card smaller than 32GB because you could end up running out of space. Today’s high-resolution dash cams can use anywhere between 100MB and 500MB per minute, depending on their resolution, so even a 32GB card might only give you up to four hours of recording before it starts overwriting the existing files.
If you’re buying a 1440p or 4K dash cam, think about a 64GB or 128GB card, and look for one with a longer warranty or one that’s designed for endurance in continual use. Cheap microSD cards can work well in some devices, but dash cams need something that’s built to last.
Is there anything else worth looking out for?
Some of the best dash cams have their own built-in GPS, enabling them to save the date, time and location of any incident or event recorded. It’s also helpful if your dash cam has a G sensor or accelerometer, as this will recognise any sudden stop or impact and trigger a command to save the relevant footage.
Parking protection to record what’s going on around your car can be a bonus, provided you don’t use it in an area where the sight of your dash cam is more likely to get your car broken in to and the dash cam stolen.
We’re seeing more dash cams these days with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or even 4G connectivity, enabling you to sync videos wirelessly, review your footage, or get a live view on your smartphone. Some companion apps enable you to sync multiple dash cams wirelessly; you can have one at the front and one at the rear, without a cable connecting the two (although both will have to be powered). Many allow you to use voice commands for control.
Meanwhile, models with 4G/LTE onboard can deliver alerts to your phone if your car is hit while parked, or help you locate your vehicle if you’re not sure where you left it – a feature that could save a lot of arguments in large and crowded car parks. You can even set up an emergency message to be sent if a strong impact crash event is recorded.
How to fit a dash cam
Dash cams usually attach to the windscreen using a mount, stuck to the glass using a suction cup or adhesive pad. You click the dash cam into position when you get in the car, then remove it after parking. You can either stow it in the glove box or take it with you in your bag or backpack.
The more challenging part is managing the cables, which can restrict access to the passenger’s seat and obscure your vision unless carefully tucked away. We’d recommend investing in some cable clips with sticky pads if you have long stretches of cable to deal with – and that goes double if you have to fit a rear-facing camera, too. If you have a longer vehicle, it’s worth checking on the length of the supplied cables first.
How to power a dash cam
Dash cams may have built-in batteries, but even those that do will only last an hour or two without a power source. Generally, this is a USB port or a 12V accessory socket, although hard-wiring might also be an option – and some manufacturers or retailers will offer this alongside fitting, which can save you a lot of hassle. The camera will usually power up on ignition and start recording automatically.
Can I take my dash cam on holiday and use it in a hire car?
The answer is normally yes – countries that prohibit the use of dash cams due to privacy and data-protection issues, such as Austria, are in the minority – but the laws do vary widely as you cross borders.
While you’ll get a hefty fine in Austria just for having one installed, there are countries that place less stringent limitations upon their use. For instance, you can use one in Germany, but the footage can’t be posted to YouTube or other social sharing services – you can only provide it as evidence to a German court.
In Luxembourg, meanwhile, it’s not illegal to own one, but recording any footage using one could land you with a fine or potentially a jail term. If you’re not sure, it pays to check online before packing one in your suitcase.
How we test dash cams
We test dash cams by installing them on the windscreen of a compact SUV and taking them for test drives over a period of at least three days. During that time, we try to use the devices in a range of different conditions at different speeds and at different times of day, and we always get at least one night-time journey in to see how the dash cam handles low-light conditions and bright headlights. We also check any additional features, including smart app support, driving aids and voice control.
We look carefully at how easy it is to fit the dash cam and manage any trailing cables, plus how easily it can be removed from the car and transfer any video to a laptop for viewing or storage. Finally, we review the captured footage to see how it compares to the footage from dash cams we already recommend.
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The best dash cams you can buy in 2024
1. Nextbase 622GW: Best high-end dash cam
Price when reviewed: £260 | Check price at AmazonIt’s expensive, but the Nextbase 622GW packs in the best camera technology of any dash cam on the market today. It’s so good, in fact, that we handed it the Dash Cam of the Year title in our 2020 Product of the Year awards, and it hasn’t been superseded since.
For starters, you get a choice of recording in 4K at 30fps or 1440p at 60fps. You can even have 1080p at 120fps, which might come in handy if you want to watch it in slow motion after an incident (or just for fun).
It also uses image stabilisation to reduce the impact of vibrations for a smoother, clearer image. Throw in a new Extreme Weather Mode with defogging for misty and rainy days, and you won’t beat this dash cam for picture quality.
The captured footage is impressive. In terms of clarity and detail, it’s a cut above anything we’ve seen, although it’s a toss-up whether the extra resolution of 4K or the faster frame rate of 1440p is more worthwhile. And you still get access to all of Nextbase’s advanced features, including Alexa connectivity and a Hyper-Sync Wi-Fi connection to the MyNextbase smartphone app.
This dash cam even crams in an emergency response feature and integration with what3words – the ingenious service that can pinpoint your location without needing to relay the exact GPS coordinates.
We’re still not convinced by the Alexa support, but this is definitively the best dash cam that money can buy.
Key specs – Max video recording resolution: 1440p, 30fps; Field of view: 140°; Display: 2in; Extra features: GPS, G sensor, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Alexa voice controls
2. Garmin Dash Cam 47: Best compact dash cam
Price when reviewed: £130 | Check price at HalfordsGarmin’s excellent mid-range Dash Cam 46 has been replaced by the Dash Cam 47, and the new model is every bit as good as its predecessor. At 56 x 40 x 22mm, it’s still surprisingly tiny, with most of the rear occupied by the 2in screen. It still clips onto the windscreen via a ball-socketed arm that attaches to a coin-sized metal plate via magnets, and it’s both stable and very easy to fit and remove when you’re in a rush.
It’s also nice and easy to use, through clear menus and a simple three-button control system, or you have the option of voice commands for saving recordings, taking still pictures or starting and stopping time-lapse “travelapse” recordings. And if you don’t want to review your footage on the built-in screen, you can do that and a whole lot more through Garmin’s brilliant Drive app. It’s through this that you can access the Dash Cam 47’s biggest new feature: the ability to upload videos directly to an online vault, where they will stay for 24 hours with the basic subscription, for seven days for £5 a month or £10 for 30 days. Videos in the vault can be shared with a link and a passcode, which could be handy if you run into trouble.
As for the footage, 1080p at 30fps might not seem amazing now that 4K dash cams are becoming more affordable, but the Dash Cam 47 gives you crisp, bright images whether you’re driving at night or in bright sunlight, with more shadow detail than some other dash cams and good handling of glare from the sun or headlights. Like the Dash Cam 46 before it, it’s a great all-rounder.
Key specs – Max video recording resolution: 1080p, 30fps; Field of view: 140°; Display: 2in; Extra features: GPS, accelerometer, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, voice control
3. Nextbase iQ: The best dash cam for smart features
Price when reviewed: £449 | Check price at Halfords
The Nextbase iQ is as smart as dash cams come, integrating 4G connectivity and a wide range of highly useful features. There are 1K, 2K and 4K resolution options available: we tested the most expensive model and it performed well, delivering impressive footage in both bright and gloomy conditions from its front- and rear-facing cameras.
But it’s the iQ’s unique features that set it apart from the competition. Smart Sense continually assesses what’s going on around your vehicle, Witness mode can be used to live-stream footage to emergency contacts in real-time, while Emergency SOS will alert emergency services in the event of a severe accident. Those are just three of several handy options, though you’ll only be able to access the full roster if you pay for a monthly or annual subscription.
If you’re willing to do so, you’ll be getting the most advanced connected dash cam on the market and protecting both yourself, your vehicle and your no-claims bonus in the process.
Read our Nextbase iQ review for more details
Key specs – Max video recording resolution: 4K, 30fps; Field of view: 140° (front-facing), 180° (rear-facing); Display: N/A; Extra features: Smart Sense, Emergency SOS, Witness mode, RoadWatch AI, Guardian mode, voice controls, Cloud storage
4. Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2: Best no-nonsense dash cam
Price when reviewed: £110 | Check price at HalfordsWe were huge fans of Garmin’s Dash Cam Mini, and this sequel is a chip off the old block. This is the most pared-back dash cam imaginable, with no screen and just one button, but it’s been designed to be used in conjunction with the Garmin Drive app on your smartphone, using Bluetooth to connect and Wi-Fi to sync and transfer images and footage.
You can use the Dash Cam Mini 2 solo, or as a rear-view camera with another Garmin Dash Cam – you can have up to four of Garmin’s Dash Cams attached to the Drive app at once. Each will need its own power, but Garmin supplies a lengthy USB-A to micro-USB power cable along with a 12V socket adapter. The dash cam itself is extremely small and light, attaching firmly to your windscreen through a clip-on ball and socket mount connecting to a 10p-sized adhesive pad.
You’ll have to miss out on the odd feature here and there – there’s no onboard GPS or speed recording – but you still get voice commands, a parking guard feature and the same vault features as the Dash Cam 47. What’s more, there’s little between the two dash cams when it comes to video quality. In brightly sunlit or dull conditions it’s excellent, and pretty clear and blur-free at night, although the Dash Cam 47 seems slightly better at dealing with windscreen reflections and glare.
Still, there’s a lot to like about the Dash Cam Mini 2’s fuss-free operations and the fact that it’s so unobtrusive on the windscreen. If having no screen isn’t a dealbreaker, it’s a fantastic low-cost option.
Key specs – Max video recording resolution: 1080p, 30fps; Field of view: 140°; Extra features: Accelerometer, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
5. Nextbase 322GW: Best entry-level dash cam
Price when reviewed: £114 | Check price at AmazonNextbase’s entry-level dash cam isn’t short on features. Unlike other budget dash cams, it has built-in GPS, along with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, auto-sync to share videos to Nextbase’s smartphone app and an emergency SOS feature. If the dash cam registers an incident and the driver is unresponsive, the app puts your phone into a beacon mode and alerts the emergency services. This does require a subscription to be paid after the first 12 months.
The design is in step with Nextbase’s higher-end dash cams. It uses the same ingenious magnetic front connector, where the cables hook into the windscreen mount and the dash cam clicks on and off. The menus are clear and easy to navigate, and you can protect important footage at the click of a button.
What’s more, the 322GW is compatible with Nextbase’s range of add-ons, including the rear-view camera and cabin-view camera, either of which can click into position on the side.
Most importantly, the captured video is good and clear. It might lack the definition of more expensive cameras, but it’s fine for the job in hand, with a smoother 60fps update than you’ll find on many cheaper dash cams and much better performance after dark.
If your main concern is protecting your no-claims bonus, why pay more?
Key specs – Max video recording resolution: 1080p, 60fps; Field of view: 140°; Display: 2.5in; Extra features: GPS, G sensor, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
6. Miofive 4K Dash Cam: Best dash cam for 4K video
Price when reviewed: £150 | Check price at AmazonMiofive’s 4K Dash Cam brings you high-end style and features at a price that isn’t much beyond entry level. It’s a well-designed, low-profile unit with a clear 2.2in IPS screen on the rear, and it includes a G-sensor accelerometer, GPS and a 5GHz Wi-Fi connection for transferring video to your smartphone via Miofive’s app. It provides friendly voice alerts when it turns on and starts recording, not to mention prompts to drive on when the car in front moves at a red light; there’s collision detection while your car is parked, too. Just bear in mind that this and the time-lapse recording feature are only active if the dash cam is hardwired into the car.
The latest version features a two-part windscreen mount, enabling you to remove the Miofive when you’re at home or wouldn’t want it visible. That’s a good thing, since it uses 64GB of internal eMMC storage rather than a microSD card. As such, you either connect the dash cam to a computer to transfer and review your footage, or use the accompanying smartphone app. The app is easy to use and has built-in sharing features for uploading clips to Google Drive, OneDrive and other cloud storage services.
Perhaps the best reason to buy this dash cam is that the image quality from the Sony IMX450 sensor is significantly better than anything else at this price point, capturing excellent, clear 4K footage during daylight hours and well-exposed video at night. The 4K resolution doesn’t make a huge amount of difference when viewing footage on your smartphone screen, but take a look at it on your PC or laptop, and you’ll find it easier to read number plates or see stickers on a rear windscreen at a longer range.
Miofive also now sells a Dual Dash Cam package with a matching rear camera. This only has a 2K resolution, meaning the video isn’t quite as crisp, but you still get a great record of what’s going on behind you.
The Miofive isn’t quite perfect; it would be great if you could adjust the horizontal angle of the camera, not just the vertical tilt. All the same, it’s incredible value, and the best dash cam we’ve seen outside the Garmin and NextBase brands.
Key specs – Max video recording resolution: 1440p, 30fps; Field of view: 140°; Display: 2.2in IPS; Extra features: G sensor, GPS, 802.11n Wi-Fi, time-lapse parking mode, road safety warning system, safety reminder and go assists
7. Garmin Dash Cam 67W: Best wide-angle dash cam
Price when reviewed: £170 | Check price at Halfords If you’re looking to make sure you catch everything on the road in front, you can’t beat the Garmin Dash Cam 67W. Where most dash cams stop at a 120 to 140° viewing angle, this one goes up to a full 180°. The 1440p HDR video you get is great as well, even if the HDR bit doesn’t seem to mean the same kind of HDR you would get from a TV, but more the kind of image post-processing you would expect from your smartphone camera.
There’s inevitably a slight fishbowl effect, and you don’t quite get the detail you see in footage from the Nextbase 622GW or Thinkware Q800 Pro, but you can expect super-smooth motion, crisp image quality and well-balanced colour, even in overcast conditions. Our only real grumble is that, at night, the image can be a little fuzzy, while headlights and streetlights get a strong vertical flare.
Otherwise, this one has all the strengths of the Dash Cam 47, including basic but effective voice commands, the online vault and a range of useful driver assists. It’s just as compact, and Garmin still has one of the simplest but most hassle-free approaches to mounting the camera on your windscreen. Other dash cams have an edge on raw image quality, but for ease of use and overall features, this is the best dash cam under £200 – especially as it’s currently available for £170.
Key specs – Max video recording resolution: 1440p, 30fps; Field of view: 180°; Display: 2in; Extra features: GPS, accelerometer, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, voice control, driving assists
8. Thinkware Q1000: Best wide-angle dash cam for features
Price when reviewed: £259 | Check price at AmazonThinkware first impressed us with its Q800 Pro: a slick, low-profile dash cam that delivered great image quality and a strong set of features. The new Q1000 is even better. It has the same 2K resolution and 30fps capture of the older version, but with a wider 156-degree field of view; you won’t find much wider outside of the Garmin Dash Cam 67W. Sure, there’s a bit of a fishbowl effect, but it isn’t as pronounced as on the Garmin, and it gives you fantastic visibility on larger roads, roundabouts and busy junctions.
The design remains almost minimalist, with no screen and only basic controls, but it clings neatly to the windscreen on its slide-and-click adhesive mount, and is mostly operated through the Thinkware Connected app. This has the expected live view and video playback features, but goes further with parking impact alerts and videos, data on your driving history and behaviour, and even features to view your vehicle’s current location and a captured image of wherever it is you’ve parked. However, with no built-in 4G connectivity, you need to be in range of a friendly Wi-Fi network or mobile hotspot for some of these features to work.
As for the captured footage, it’s good both on sunny days and in overcast conditions, and particularly impressive at night, where you can see more detail outside of the zone lit by the headlights, albeit with a little too much glare on street lights and lights coming the other way. In daylight hours, there’s ample detail to work with and you can easily read number plates, although there’s more grain and visible compression than on the best 4K dash cams. Still, if you want a wide-angle view and great features, this is an excellent buy.
Key specs – Max video recording resolution: 1440p, 30fps; Field of view: 156°; Display: N/A; Extra features: GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, remote live view, parking impact alerts, road safety warnings, Super Night Vision 3.0 mode
9. Nexar Pro: Best dash cam for in-car recording
Price when reviewed: From £130 | Check price at Amazon The Nexar Pro has built-in GPS, which means it doesn’t have to piggyback on your smartphone’s GPS, which is handy for saving battery, but more importantly, it comes with an additional cockpit camera, which connects to the Pro via a micro-USB cable. This includes built-in infrared lamps for night-time recording and has its own 3M-adhesive mount. With or without daylight, you get clear video of whatever’s going on inside the cabin, which is useful if you drive professionally or spend a lot of your time out on the road.
There’s no built-in screen, but the app makes everything simple. Once you’ve connected your phone to the camera, you can review and download footage or share it easily online, complete with reports to cover your position, speed and any sensor data in the event of any incident. It will also register any collisions while you’re parked or break-in events, though you won’t get an alert until you return to your car. You can even see where you’ve parked on a map. Throw in the same rock-solid video quality as the Beam, with good 1080p footage both in daylight and at night, and you’ve got a worthwhile upgrade for high-mileage drivers.
Key specs – Max video recording resolution: 1080p, 30fps (road), 720p, 30fps (cabin); Field of view: 135°; Display: N/A; Extra features: GPS, accelerometer, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, Unlimited cloud backup and accident report through app
10. Thinkware T700: Best connected dash cam
Price when reviewed: £259 | Check price at AmazonThe T700 is another premium dash cam from Thinkware, but with this one it’s all about the connectivity. As well as the Wi-Fi and app features of the Q800 Pro, it has built-in 4G/LTE connectivity. Sign up for a data plan on the provided Vodafone Smart SIM and you can access a range of live features, including a live view when you’re parked or moving, real-time alerts – complete with video – if your car gets smashed into while it’s parked, plus location tagging and pictures of where you last parked your car. You can also have the dash cam send an emergency message to a contact if your car is detected as having been in a serious collision. For £3 per month, you get 5GB of data, which Thinkware says should cover most people’s needs.
Otherwise, the T700 matches all of the Q800 Pro’s major features. Video quality isn’t quite as stellar, with a 1080p rather than a 2K resolution and some macro blocking artefacts at higher speeds, but we’re still impressed by the sure grasp of contrast and exposure, and you won’t have any problem reading number plates or spotting road signs, even with footage recorded at night. For most of us, the 4G connectivity will be overkill, but if you spend most of your working week travelling, this could be a smart investment.
Key specs – Max video recording resolution: 1080p, 30fps; Field of view: 140°; Display: N/A; Extra features: A-GPS, accelerometer, Wi-Fi, speed camera alert, CPL filter, timelapse and energy-saving parking recording, collision and departure warning, 4G LTE
11. Viofo A139 Pro: Best triple-camera dash cam
Price when reviewed: £284 | Check price at ViofoWhile it’s probably overkill for the average driver, the Viofo A139 gives commercial drivers and taxi or Uber drivers everything they need for a record of events both inside and outside the vehicle. As well as the low-profile, front-facing camera, you get a rear-facing camera and a monochrome, infrared interior camera. The secondary units connect to the main camera via thin cables, and while that inevitably means a lot of wiring to conceal, the design helps minimise the clutter on the windscreen.
With a Sony IMX678 sensor capturing 4K footage at the front and IMX291 sensors handling the 1080p interior and rear views, video quality is excellent. Only the Miofive 4K Dash Cam and Nextbase 622GW capture clearer, more detailed video, and while compression artefacts are visible in places of high contrast, it’s easy to make out number plates, signs and other crucial details.
The exposure is consistently spot on. The A139 Pro performed well in gloomy or stormy conditions and at night, too, minimising headlight flare while amplifying brightness levels in the image. The interior view is surprisingly clear, and the rear camera footage beats that captured by the Miofive Dual Camera bundle.
Beyond this, there is a fantastic set of features, including built-in GPS with logging of position and speed, time-lapse parking recording, and automatic detection and protection of impact events – East Devon’s superb collection of potholes gave me ample chance to try this out. For many of us, a three-camera setup won’t be worth the hassle, but if you want to protect your ability to drive for work, you won’t find a better bundle.
Key specs – Max video recording resolution: 2160p, 30fps; Field of view: 140°; Display: 2in; Extra features: GPS, G sensor, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Alexa voice controls
12. Thinkware U3000: Best dash cam for all-round safety and security
Price when reviewed: £399 (front only) | Check price at Amazon
Thinkware’s latest 4K dash cam is a big investment, but one that’s justified by the built-in tech. Not only do you get a Sony IMX678 4K sensor, but there’s GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and an upgraded Super Night Vision mode. Image quality is fantastic, with number plates and road signs easily legible in daytime footage and superb levels of clarity. It’s almost as good when driving around town at night, although if on unlit country roads at night, you might find the footage grainy and prone to blowing out when you have headlights in the frame. You can tune the sensitivity to adjust this out, but then you lose some image quality when back in town.
It’s the extra features that really sell the U3000, however. While you’re on the road, the early warning features can really help if you’re drifting out of lane or haven’t spotted a driver merging suddenly from the fast lane in front. Thinkware seems to have cracked avoiding false alerts while giving you the info you need, fast. It’s also helpful when it comes to speed cam warnings, while the new Radar parking features work brilliantly, tracking movement near the vehicle, quietly waking up the dash cam and recording, but only saving the footage if there’s a collision or a possible intrusion. Thinkware’s apps can still be tricky to get working on some phones, and a few of these features are disabled by default. However, if you’re happy to pay extra for a dash cam that delivers all-round protection, the U3000 is a worthwhile investment.
Key specs – Max video recording resolution: 2160p, 30fps (front), 1440p, 30fps (rear); Field of view: 156 degrees; Display: None; Extra features: GPS, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Super Night Vision 4.0, Radar motion detection parking mode, time-lapse parking mode, road safety warning system, safety reminder and go assists