The best dash cams of 2024

A quality dash cam can be a valuable tool for new and experienced drivers by helping to keep an eye on the road as well as the interior of your vehicle. By recording the road in front of your vehicle, a dash cam can provide important information for authorities and insurance companies in the event of an accident or collision. And recording the interior can give parents of new drivers or caretakers of elderly parents a way to correct bad driving habits and get context in case of an accident or collision.

Other dash cam kits include a second camera unit for mounting on the back of a vehicle to give you almost 360 degrees of recording. Many dash cams feature night vision to record in the dark as well as motion detection to automatically record activity while your car is parked. 

Also: The best backup cameras

What is the best dash cam right now?

I chose the Vantrue N2 Pro as the best dash cam you can buy right now for its support of high-capacity microSD cards for more video storage, inclusion of a front and rear camera, and up to 1440p recording resolution. You can keep reading below to find out more about the Vantrue N2 Pro as well as my other picks for the best dash cameras.

Pros

  • Great resolution
  • Dual camera views
  • Supports high-capacity microSD cards

Cons

  • GPS and hardwire kits not included
  • Not 4K

The Vantrue N2 Pro is an excellent dash cam for new drivers as well as drivers looking to upgrade their current dash cam setup. It features a front-facing camera and an interior-facing camera, so you can record both the road and passengers as you drive. The front camera captures video in 1440p resolution at 30 frames per second, while the interior camera records in 1080p at 60 frames per second. You also can change the front camera to 1080p/60fps for smoother playback at faster driving speeds. 

For power, you can either use the included 12V adapter or purchase a hardwire kit to connect the camera to your car’s battery for nearly unlimited runtime. The front camera uses infrared night vision to capture clearer images in the dark and even has a 24-hour parking mode, which uses motion detection to only capture footage when something moves near the car.

It supports microSD cards up to 256GB for storing videos, and the camera records in loops, so you never have to worry about offloading old videos. The camera will automatically overwrite old videos when the card is full. The built-in G sensor automatically detects when a crash or other accident happens and stores relevant video for later viewing. There’s also an optional GPS unit you can buy for accurate location tracking to help emergency services get to you faster in the event of an accident.

Verified customer reviews on Amazon agree that the night vision feature of the Vantrue N2 Pro does a great job of letting you see pedestrians, animals, and road hazards in the dark. They also agree that the system is easy to set up.

Vantrue N2 Pro tech specs: Resolution: 1440p | Night vision: Yes | Motion detection: Yes | Storage: Up to 256GB microSD card | Power source: 12V adapter, hardwire kit | GPS: Optional | Viewing angle: 170 degrees front, 140 degrees interior | Viewing location: Front, interior

Pros

  • No subscription
  • SOS messages after crash
  • Affordable
  • Good resolution

Cons

  • No interior or rear camera
  • No night vision

If you’re looking for a dependable dash cam that won’t break the bank, the Nexar Beam is an excellent option. This dash cam retails for less than $175, while still giving you awesome features like motion detection recording. 

The front-facing camera captures video in 1080p for clear images, and the included 32GB microSD card can store up to 4 hours of dash cam footage. You also get unlimited free cloud backup storage for video, so you can have them on hand for insurance purposes if needed. And no need to worry about offloading video on a regular basis — the Nexar Beam automatically loops and overwrites old video when the card is full. 

Review: Nexar Beam dash cam

With the companion smartphone app, you can set up automatic updates for the camera so it’s always ready to go. You also can use the app to create detailed collision reports, complete with G force, speed, and location information as well as related videos. 

If you forget where you parked your car or if it gets stolen, the app provides detailed location info so you can get your vehicle back safely. It even sends out SOS messages to emergency contacts in the event of a crash so that you can get help faster. The best part? There’s no monthly subscription fee. The cost of the dash cam covers your lifetime usage of the app and its features. ZDNET’s own Eileen Brown got to go hands-on with the Nexar Beam, and loved the companion app for being easy to connect to the camera and customize features. And verified customer reviews agree with her, noting that the companion app allows you to create a cloud backup for recordings (for a fee).

Nexar Beam tech specs: Resolution: 1080p | Night vision: No | Motion detection: Yes | Storage: 32GB | Power source: 12V adapter | GPS: No | Viewing angle: 135 degrees | Viewing location: Front

Pros

  • Supports up to 512GB microSD card
  • Compact design
  • Voice controls
  • Live video feed

Cons

  • No night vision
  • No interior camera
  • No on-board viewing screen

If you drive a commercial truck or for a ridesharing service, you need a dash cam that can store dozens of hours of video, since you may not have reliable or frequent access to a computer to offload footage. 

The Garmin Mini 2 supports microSD cards up to 512GB, which allows your dash cam to store almost 31 hours of 1080p video. The large capacity makes it great for road trips, long-haul trucking, and full-time rideshare drivers. The camera is also incredibly compact, measuring just 2 x 1 x 1 inches, so it won’t obstruct your view while you’re driving. 

Read the review:  On the road with the Garmin Dash Cam Mini and 66W: Clear video, driver assist, and smartphone control

The Garmin Mini 2 uses built-in voice controls for hands-free use, so you can start and stop the dash cam record while driving without taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road. You also can remotely access the dash cam with your smartphone for live video streaming, allowing you to check on your vehicle while it’s parked. In parking mode, the camera uses motion detection to automatically start recording when it senses movement.

ZDNET expert Matthew Miller was able to go hands-on with the Garmin Mini in his own vehicle, and praised how easy it was to use, but noted the lack of an integrated display for real-time playback or monitoring. 

Garmin Mini 2 tech specs: Resolution: 1080p | Night vision: No | Motion detection: Yes | Storage: Up to 512GB | Power source: 12V adapter | GPS: No | Viewing angle: 140 degrees | Viewing location: Front

Pros

  • Almost 360-degrees of recording
  • Up to 4K resolution
  • Night vision and motion detection

Cons

  • GPS unit costs extra
  • Not compatible with Mac computers
  • Not compatible with SanDisk microSD cards

With three different cameras, the Vantrue N4 allows you to get almost 360 degrees of video coverage for your car while you drive. The main camera records the road in front of your vehicle as well as the interior, while the second camera can be mounted on the back of your car to record behind you. 

When used by itself, the front-facing camera can record up to 4K resolution at 30 frames per second for smooth playback. And when used with the other two cameras, it still records in 1440p while the interior and rear cameras record in 1080p.All three cameras are equipped with night vision for recording in the dark as well as motion detectors for capturing video when motion is sensed around the parked car. The built-in G sensor automatically detects when you’ve been in an accident or when something hits your parked car, saving recordings for evidence. 

Read the review: Vantrue OnDash N4 dash cam hands-on: Three-channel camera with great all-round vision

The Vantrue N4 supports microSD cards up to 256GB, allowing you to record up to 15 hours of video in 1440p. The camera automatically overwrites the oldest file on the card for loop recording, so you don’t have to worry about clearing out the microSD card. An optional GPS unit is also available to buy, which lets the camera record routes and location information. That can be helpful for parents of new teen drivers as well as family members who want to ensure senior family members are protected on the road.

ZDNET expert Eileen Brown went hands-on with the Vantrue N4 dash camera, praising its ability to record both the road in front of a car as well as the car’s interior and its support for microSD cards up to 256GB. Verified customer reviews from Newegg love the Vantrue N4’s ability to record in 4K as well as its ability to automatically separate recordings into 4-minute sections to make it easier to find footage.

Vantrue N4 tech specs: Resolution: Up to 4K front, 1080p interior and rear | Night vision: Yes | Motion detection: Yes | Storage: Up to 256GB | Power source: 12V adapter | GPS: No | Viewing angle: 155 degrees front, 165 degrees interior, 160 degrees rear | Viewing location: Front, interior, rear

Pros

  • What3Words integration
  • Alexa built-in
  • 4K

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Rear camera not included

Being able to give emergency services a precise location in the event of an accident or crash can make all the difference. The Nextbase 622GW is designed to provide video footage of your driving while pinpointing your location. It features integration with What3Words, an app that permanently assigns three random words to every 3-meter square of maps. These words then translate into real-world locations, allowing you to let emergency responders know exactly where you are, even if you don’t have a street address. 

The front-facing camera features a polarizing filter to help reduce glare and washout from bright sunlight. It is capable of recording video in up to 4K resolution at 30 frames per second, though you also can record in 1400p at up to 60fps and in 1080p at up to 120fps for smooth playback even in high-speed-driving videos. You can use the slo-mo function to analyze footage frame by frame, while the built-in image stabilizer reduces picture sway for clearer frames. 

Read the review: Nextbase 622GW Dash Cam hands-on: Advanced technology and capability provides a safety net for drivers

With the camera’s night vision and motion detection, you can record at night and when your car is parked. The dash cam connects to your smartphone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to automatically sync and store your video recordings. The built-in Alexa functionality gives you hands-free control and the ability to hear the news, weather, and your favorite music without taking your eyes off the road. 

ZDNET expert Matthew Miller tested out the Nextbase 622GW praising its intuitive integration of both Android and iOS companion apps and included 64GB microSD card for storing recordings. Verified reviews from Best Buy and Amazon both agree that the Nextbase 622GW’s 4K recording resolution is great for reviewing footage for insurance claims, but do note that the camera has an automatic shutoff feature to protect against overheating. So if you live in a very high temperature area like the Southwestern US, you may want to make a note of safe operation temperatures before you buy. 

Nextbase 622GW tech specs: Resolution: 4K | Night vision: Yes | Motion detection: Yes | Storage: Up to 256GB | Power source: 12V adapter | GPS: Yes | Viewing angle: 140 degrees | Viewing location: Front 

My pick for the best dash cam is the Vantrue N2 Pro. Not only does it record what’s on the road in front of you, but it also has a second lens for recording the interior of the car, which is helpful if your car is ever broken into or stolen. Parents of new drivers can assess their teens’ levels of distractions and dangerous driving habits. 

It even has infrared night vision and motion detection to capture images in the dark and conserve battery life. It records in 1440p resolution at 30 frames per second for clean, crisp images. You can also switch to 1080p for a higher frame rate while you’re driving.

Best dash cam

Best Price

Resolution

Storage

Vantrue N2 Pro

$170

1440p

Up to 256GB 

Nexar Beam

$100

1080p

Up to 256GB

Garmin Mini 2

$120

1080p

Up to 512GB

Vantrue N4

$210

4K

Up to 256GB

Nextbase 622GW

$400

4K

Up to 256GB

*Best price at time of writing. Please note that actual retail price may vary depending on the seller as well as available deals and active promotions.

The best dash cam for you depends on what you want to record and for how long. There are many dash cams on the market that record the road in front of your car, which is great for providing evidence in case of crashes and accidents. 

Others also can record the interior of your car, which is perfect for parents of teen drivers who want to keep tabs on their distractions and dangerous behaviors. Some dash cams come with a second camera that you can mount in the rear window of your car to record vehicles and the road behind you. 

If you want to keep your car monitored while it’s parked or while you’re driving at night, you’ll want to opt for a model with motion detection recording and night vision for clearer images in dim light and to conserve battery while idle. You’ll also want to choose a dash cam with a high storage capacity so you can properly store several days or weeks’ worth of video.

Some dash cams also require professional installation, since they connect to your car’s battery, computer, and electrical systems to function. While these can be quite expensive on top of installation costs, they’re a good option if you don’t plan on switching vehicles or don’t want to mess with recharging batteries.

Choose this dash cam

If you need…

Vantrue N2 Pro

An affordable and well-rounded dash cam for front and interior recording.

Nexar Beam

A very affordable dash cam with cloud storage, SOS messaging after crashes, and good resolution.

Garmin Mini 2

A name-brand dash cam with high-capacity storage, a compact design, and voice controls.

Vantrue N4

A dash cam kit for recording multiple viewpoints with 4K resolution, night vision, and motion detection.

Nextbase 622GW

A high-end dash cam with voice controls, 4K resolution, and GPS tracking.

Whether it’s your first dash camera or an upgrade for your current setup, here are a few features to keep in mind as you shop:

  • Price: Staying within your budget is important, not only to be nice to your wallet, but to ensure that you aren’t paying for features you aren’t going to use, or making up in frustration what you’ve saved in cash.
  • Recording set up: Many dash cams are made to only record the road in front of the vehicle. But there are models that also record the interior of your vehicle or include a second camera to use as a backup camera or for traffic recording.
  • Smart features: Many dash cams work with companion apps for smartphones and tablets which give you access to saved recordings, expanded cloud storage, and enhanced settings like motion detection and night vision.

While testing and researching each dash cam featured on this list, I and other ZDNET experts kept these criteria in mind:

  • Set up: Some dash cams require you to hardwire them into your vehicle’s electrical system for a continuous source of power, while others have built-in rechargeable batteries. We included several types on this list to suit both newcomers and dash cam experts.
  • Expandable memory: Whether you opt for expandable internal storage via microSD cards or cloud storage backup, each dash cam on this best list has been ensured to support various memory capacities for recording video and still photos.
  • Video resolution: Having a dash cam doesn’t make much of a difference if you can’t tell what was recorded. Each dash cam on this list has been vetted to have a minimum recording resolution of 1080p HD.

Absolutely! Whether it uses your car’s battery or its own rechargeable one, your dash cam will be able to record as long as it has access to a reliable source of power. 

I recommend using a dash cam with motion detection if you’re planning to hook it up to your car battery, so it won’t get depleted overnight. And you won’t have to worry about your dash cam depleting your vehicle’s battery, as it doesn’t require much power. 

You can also avoid this altogether by buying a dedicated battery pack for your dash cam. These also charge when your vehicle is in motion. 

It mostly depends on how much storage space you have. A 32GB SD card can store about four hours of 1080p footage before it needs to be overwritten, whereas a 512GB SD card can store up to 24 hours of 1080p video. 

If your dash cam is capable of cloud storage, you can have almost unlimited video storage, since it will upload data to the cloud server to make room for local recording. However, as you go up in resolution, your storage can handle less footage. A 32GB card will only hold about 30 minutes of 4K video, and a 512GB one will hold close to four hours.

That’s why it’s best to have a dash cam with cloud storage. It also comes in handy if you’re involved in an accident and the device incurs damage. 

If you only plan to use your dash cam while you’re driving, a smaller SD card will be just fine. A 32GB SD card can hold up to four hours of 1080p video, giving you plenty of storage space for typical commutes or shorter road trips. 

If you want to be able to record video overnight, you may want to invest in a 128 or 256GB SD card to make sure you have enough space.

Yes, they are worth the money. If you’re involved in an accident, dash cams can provide a video recording of what happened, which can absolve you of responsibility if the incident was caused by another driver. 

On that principle alone, it can save you money relative to repair fees and injuries incurred by other parties. It can also keep you from receiving points on your driver’s license. If it shows you’re not at fault for the accident, it can prevent your car insurance premium from skyrocketing. 

More dash cams to consider

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