Below is just a brief outline of what you may look for before buying a new dash cam. Consult our in-depth Dash Cam Buying Guide for a full rundown of features and specs.
Dash Cam Types
When browsing for a dashcam, you should be aware that there are three main types:
Standard/Forward Facing Dash Cams, Rear Dash Cams and Front and Rear Dash Cams (which is a combination of both via a dual-lens solo device or a 2-channel system).
The Top 10 above features standard dash cams only and so if you’re looking for one of the other two kinds of device, please consult our separate top ten guides.
Dashcam stands for dashboard camera and so the standard device you’ll find when browsing is always a forward-facing model, which sits on or above the dashboard (behind the rearview mirror is safest).
These record footage from your POV, capturing a fairly wide angle of what you can see out of your front windscreen. They remain the go-to device for most people as they are easy to set up, however they won’t capture anything from the rear end of your vehicle.
Many are now compatible with add-on rear camera systems and so can easily be converted into a 2-channel front and rear dash cam at a later date.
The most important thing to consider when buying a dash cam is the resolution quality. Ideally, you want it to be a Full HD quality of 1080p or above to guarantee the clearest picture.
This will allow you to see the finer details, such as number plates and possibly even faces in other cars. UHD (twice the resolution of HD) and 4K (video resolution is four times the size of HD) dash cams are becoming more popular, however, especially on motorways where driving quality is decreasing and accidents and insurance claims are increasing.
If removing an SD card, inserting it into a computer and manually uploading footage isn’t an issue for you, it’s probably wise to save yourself some money with a non-WiFi dashcam.
However, if you like things quick and easy, a wireless internet connection allows you to seamlessly and in some cases instantly download collision footage to a smartphone or tablet using the dedicated app. This could be good for issues where you know you’ll need to make a claim and will want to save the data immediately.
This could be a real timesaver when it comes to claims and can be better protection against something going wrong during the conversion and uploading process.
One great feature we recommend seeking out is dash cams with parking modes and motion sensors. This means the camera will turn itself on and record if it senses motion outside the vehicle. The G-Force sensors will also activate immediate recording should the car take impact when parked still. This can help catch vandals, thieves and hit and run drivers in the act when you’re not actually in your vehicle.
Dash cams can get mighty expensive due to all the extra features, but if all you need is good quality recording equipment and a few handy features, you can save a lot of money by doing without unnecessary add-ons like voice activation.
Those above around the £50 mark will likely have a few extra handy features, such as the parking sensors and WiFi. The most essential thing to look out for is the video recording quality, no matter the price.