The best dash cams you can buy

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  • A reliable dashboard camera can prove fault after a car accident, capture amazing footage of your road trip, or help keep an inexperienced young driver responsible out there on the roads.
  • The Vantrue N2 Pro Dual Dash Cam is our top pick because its high-definition camera captures crystal clear footage day and night, while its cabin camera also records what's going on in the car.
Why should you get a dash camera for your car? Well, let's answer that question by asking a few others. First, do you like being held responsible for car accidents that were in no way your fault? Do you like capturing epic video of your awesome road trip? Do you enjoy being the victim of fraud when someone claims you injured him or her through dangerous driving? And do you like being able to keep tabs on the people driving your cars, be they your child, your employee, or your roommate Greg?Advertisement

The correct answers to those questions are, in order, no, yes, no, and yes, by the way.

A dashboard camera is a the single best way to protect your rights in the event of a car accident or fraudulent injury case, as they objectively record the road ahead, capturing license plate information, traffic sign and signal data, and the actions of other vehicles and pedestrians in proximity to your car.

Many dash cams also have a cabin camera that records the interior of the vehicle, an important safety feature for a taxi or rideshare driver or for monitoring the driver of a vehicle you own or for which you're responsible even when not driving it. In other words, forget about he said she said and go with high-definition video recordings.

On a lighter note, dash cams are great for recording fun-filled bits of footage during drives around the city or for capturing sweeping vistas as you log miles and miles out on the open road. And cabin cameras, especially those equipped with good audio recording abilities, can also log hilarious exchanges shared by families or friends, turning moments into memories to be shared and replayed for years to come.

Here are the best dash cams you can buy:

Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.

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The best dash cam overall

The best dash cam overall
Why you'll love it: The Vantrue N2 Pro Dual Dash Cam records crisp, clear footage of both the road ahead and the interior of the car, making it a great choice for any driver concerned about liability and safety.

If you drive for Uber or Lyft, operate a taxi or limousine, or you just want to ensure that you are protected against claims made after an accident, a Vantrue N2 Pro Dual Dash Cam is a great choice.

Its forward-facing camera records crisp high definition video both day and night, while the interior cabin camera captures everything that's going on inside the car even after dark. From claims made by another driver during an accident to accusations leveled by your own passenger, you will be able to refute it all and protect your rights thanks to the record of events created by your camera that comes complete with a time and date stamp.

And if merely having video recordings of events isn't enough for you, pair the Vantrue N2 Pro Dual camera with an optional GPS unit and your footage will be accompanied by information on your car's exact location and speed, further insulating you from claims.

The camera automatically starts up when you start your car, so there's no need to consciously activate it each time your drive. It uses a loop function, overwriting the oldest footage with the newest, so you have time to spare if an event transpires that you want to make sure you don't delete.

With well over 1,000 reviews posted on Amazon, the Vantrue N2 Pro Dual Dash Cam has a solid 4.3-star rating. One owner praised the "great quality video" and loved the "set and forget" functionality of the auto start feature. Another called it "simply the best" and "east to set up and install."

A writer with TheRideshareGuy praised the Vantrue N2 Pro's internal camera for being "wide enough to get the whole car" in the frame, and noted the forward-looking camera's excellent 1080P resolution.

Pros: Cabin camera captures interior of car, excellent night vision, records multiple data points

Cons: Expensive option

Buy the Vantrue N2 Pro Dual Dash Cam on Amazon for $200

The best dash cam for accident liability protection

The best dash cam for accident liability protection
Why you'll love it: Even if you're not in your car at the time of a hit-and-run, you just might catch the culprit, as the VAVA 2K QHD Dash Cam switches on and records 20 seconds of footage after detecting an impact.

Car accidents — how should I put it? — suck. Hit-and-run accidents are even worse, with the victim left to deal with repairs, insurance, rentals, and all the costs and time lost as a result of the accident without a perpetrator to be held accountable. Believe me, I know all about it; shout out to the person who knocked the bumper half off my car in the middle of the night a few months ago, by the way.

With a VAVA 2K QHD Dash Cam set up in your car, you greatly increase your chance of identifying the vehicle that hit you even if you were miles from your car at the time. The camera has a built-in three-way gyro sensor that can detect the impact of a crash and automatically begins recording, capturing 20 seconds of footage in clear high definition. If a car hits yours then drives off (so long as they don't so driving away from the rear of your car), the camera will get a clear view of their vehicle ... and their license plate.

For your everyday driving, the VAVA 2K QHD Dash Cam is a fine choice, too. It captures a wide swath of the street ahead of you and can also be easily rotated around to record the interior of the vehicle. A microphone captures clear audio, and the camera pairs with an app for easy downloading, editing and sharing of video clips.

With several dozen reviews posted on Amazon, the VAVA 2K QHD Dash Cam has a solid 4.1-star overall rating. One shopper loved that the "setup was a breeze" and said he was "impressed with [the] quality of video." Another reported the camera served as perfect "proof for the police" after a careless driver smashed into her parked car and left the scene.

Note that some users did report occasional connectivity issues, with the camera not syncing properly with their phones and even causing cellular connection issues at times by tricking phones into thinking they had a Wi-Fi connection.

Pros: Automatically records clip after accident, rotates for interior recording, easy setup

Cons: Some smartphone connectivity issues

Buy the VAVA 2K QHD Dash Cam on Amazon for $139.99

The best discrete dash cam

The best discrete dash cam
Why you'll love it: Whether you're in law enforcement, you're a livery driver, or you simply don't feel the need to broadcast the fact that you're recording video, the compact and subtle DDPai Mini2 Dash Cam is a great choice.

There are myriad reasons a person might want the ability to record video from his or her car without those around (or even inside) the vehicle knowing about it.

From a claims investigator working for an insurance company to a plain clothes detective working on a case, to a Lyft or taxi cab driver who spends all day on the road thus is at heightened risk for an accident, to anyone who wants to keep a record of the road ahead and record what is said in the car without the presence of a camera influencing the situation, the compact and subtle DDPai Mini2 Dash Cam is a great choice.

At just 3.4 inches long and 1.25 inches tall, this slender tube-shaped camera can tuck behind the rearview mirror or perch low against the windshield without attracting much notice. Its high-definition processor and infrared capable lens capture great video quality both day and night, while the sensitive microphone features noise-cancelling technology that can pick up clear audio from within the car even when background noise is prevalent.

And when your car is parked, you can keep on keeping tabs on the area thanks to a single frame per second function that records a steady series of images, capturing faces, license plates, and other images that might help right a wrong, should any occur. Oh, and you'll also appreciate this diminutive camera's small price tag.

With a couple hundred reviews posted at the time of this writing, the subtle DDPai Mini2 Dash Cam enjoys a 4.3-star rating. A shopper named Michael spoke for many when he called the Mini2 a "little life saver" that records "great images by day" and "good [images] at night." Several users did report issues with the paired app, which can be hard to pair with the camera and isn't logically designed.

Pros: Subtle and compact design, steady passive recording while parked, good price point

Cons: Pairs with inferior app

Buy the DDPai Mini2 Dash Cam on Amazon for $69.99

The best low-cost dash cam

The best low-cost dash cam
Why you'll love it: The APEMAN C450 Series A Dash Cam has all of the features you'd expect from a decent dash camera except one — the high price tag.

Let's be clear here: The APEMAN C450 Series A Dash Cam is not the best dashboard camera ever made. Its night vision capabilities are lacking, and even on cloudy days or during stormy weather the images it captures tend to be grainy. The hardware itself is also prone to issues, with loosening screws and a suction cup occasionally prone to detaching itself.

But let's also be clear that you are not going to find a better option that costs less than forty bucks. In fact, for its price tag of $39.99, the APEMAN C450 Series A Dash Cam is a great deal. With sufficient ambient light, it captures clear images in 1080P high definition and can take photos with a resolution of 4,032 by 3,024 pixels.

It has a G-sensor that switches the camera on after a collision is detected and locks that video file, helping provide you with evidence to support a legal or insurance claim, and in the course of normal operation it periodically overwrites old files to preserve memory card space.

In other words, it has all the features you'd expect from a decent dash camera. And unlike many such units, the APEMAN C450 has a three-inch screen on the back that lets you see what its lens is picking up, helping you properly position the camera. While hardly compact and subtle, overall the camera is capable and well worth its price tag.

With nearly 200 reviews posted on Amazon, the APEMAN C450 has a 4.3-star overall rating. A shopper named Michael speaks for many when he calls is a "very good dash cam for the price," noting its ease of mounting and calling "the menu easy to navigate."

A writer from 3Insider called the C450 an "affordable dash cam" that worked with "little to no blur" in good lighting conditions, though he did say "the mount is flimsy" and prone to breaking.

Pros: Very low price, features video screen, easy to operate

Cons: Flimsy hardware, night vision issues

Buy the APEMAN C450 Series A Dash Cam on Amazon for $44.99 (originally $99.99)

The best two-camera dash cam

The best two-camera dash cam
Why you'll love it: The AUKEY DR03 Dual Dash Cam keeps tabs of the road ahead and behind to capture video of threats to your vehicle you might not see coming.

Far too many objectively excellent dash cameras fail their owner simply because an incident occurs outside their field of view. Frequently, this takes place in the form of a rear end accident. The AUKEY DR03 Dual Dash Cam makes short work of that issue by featuring two separate cameras, one that looks out of the front windshield and another that watches out behind the vehicle.

It can also be set to record audio inside the car, offering you even more evidence to back up your claims as you record audio notes during an incident.

The forward-looking camera has a broad 170-degree field of view that can capture the action on roadways as wide as six lanes, while the rear camera has almost just as broad a reach with a 160-degree field of view. A G-sensor detects impacts and switches on both cameras, locking the subsequent footage, so whether your parked car is struck from the rear or in the hood, you'll have a record of the culprit.

You can count on the AUKEY DR03 Dual Dash Cam to work in extreme conditions, too: It's rated to withstand temperatures as cold as -22º and up to 167º Fahrenheit.

While rather expensive, the fact that the AUKEY DR03 Dual Dash Cam features two high quality cameras and all the safety features you look for in such hardware, it's a good buy for anyone serious about liability protection.

Dozens of shoppers have reviewed the DR03, awarding it an overall rating of 4.4-stars. One owner says "the front facing camera is excellent" and appreciates that the "infrared rear facing camera" captures serviceable images after dark. Another called the system "easy to install" and praised the excellent "audio quality."

Pros: Comes with two cameras, excellent interior audio quality, good night vision recording

Cons: Expensive

Buy the AUKEY DR03 Dual Dash Cam on Amazon for $169.99