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Best Budget Dash Cams for Your Hard-Earned Dollars

Best Budget Dash Cams for Your Hard-Earned Dollars

You can spend a lot of money on a dashboard camera, but if you need to keep it affordable, there are still some worthy options. You can easily find a dozen under-$200 quality dash cams on our website and here is a list of our favourites.

BEST 1-CHANNEL DASH CAM UNDER $100

APEMAN C450A

Video Quality: Full HD 1080p | Field of View: 170° | WiFi: No| Parking Mode: Yes | Night Vision: Yes | Memory Card: MicroSD card up to 32GB

What we love:

Super night vision with HDR

Ultra wide-angle lens

Large 3" LCD screen

What we don't like:

Rather filmsy mount that can break if handled too roughly

No WiFi support


BEST 1-CHANNEL DASH CAM UNDER $200

VIOFO A119 V3

Video Quality: 2K QHD+ Front | Field of View: 140° | WiFi: No| Parking Mode: Yes | Night Vision: Yes | Memory Card: MicroSD card up to 256GB

What we love:

QHD+ high-quality resolution

Ability to downscale to Full HD for 60FPS

Sony STARVIS image sensor

Optional suction mount

Heat resistant

What we don't like:

No WiFi support


BEST 2-CHANNEL DASH CAM UNDER $100

CROSSTOUR CR900 2-CH

Video Quality: Full HD 1080p + Full HD 1080p | Field of View: 170° | WiFi: No| Parking Mode: Yes | Night Vision: Yes | Memory Card: MicroSD card up to 32GB

What we love:

Full HD 1080p front and rear

Front and rear dual-channel system

Super night vision with HDR

Large 3" LCD screen

What we don't like:

No WiFi support

Small microSD card capacity supported


BEST 2-CHANNEL DASH CAM UNDER $200

VIOFO A129 Duo

Video Quality: Full HD 1080p | Field of View: 140° | WiFi: Yes | Parking Mode: Yes | Night Vision: Yes | Memory Card: MicroSD card up to 256GB

What we love:

Full HD 1080p from Front and Rear cameras

WiFi-enabled

Sony STARVIS image sensor

Heat resistant

Integrated GPS

What we don't like:

Thick rear camera cable makes clean installation tricky

 


BEST 2-CHANNEL DASH CAM FOR RIDESHARE UNDER $200

VIOFO A129 Duo IR

Video Quality: Full HD 1080p Front; Full HD 1080p Interior | Field of View: 140° Front; 160° Interior | WiFi: Yes | Parking Mode: Yes | Night Vision: Yes | Memory Card: MicroSD card up to 256GB

What we love:

Full HD 1080p from Front and interior IR cameras

WiFi-enabled

Sony STARVIS image sensor

Heat resistant

Integrated GPS

What we don't like:

Thick rear camera cable makes clean installation tricky

 

Under $250 dash cams handpicked by our dash cam experts

Discover our favorite dash cams from under $150 to those that are between $150 to $250. Find the dash cam that fits your budget.

What to look for in a good budget dash cam?

Being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice and compromise on everything. For any dash cam, you will need the basic feature set so your video footage is as good as possible.

Features should include:

1. Video Quality and Resolution

The least you can ask for is Full HD resolution. The point of having a dash cam is to capture video footage. If you have videos that you can barely make out, it might not be helpful, especially if you were involved in a collision. You may want to look at some sample footage first. While 4K image quality is the new industry standard, in most cases, you can settle for Full HD 1080p video without losing much picture clarity. Another thing to consider: frame rate.

2. Loop Recording

Looping means your dash cam will automatically replace older unneeded videos with newer, more relevant ones. This way, you don’t have to check every time whether or not it’s recording and you have to worry about running out of memory.

3. Wide-Angle Lens and Coverage

The lens of the dash cam is important and a wide field of view is often recommended. While front-view only cameras are cheaper, we do recommend cameras that offer either interior or rearview cameras as well. Remember, accidents won’t always happen in front of you - sometimes you’ll be hit from behind. Rideshare (ie. Uber and Lyft) drivers should choose a camera that offers an interior view as well because, in the event of an accident, you will want evidence of what’s going on inside the car as well.

4. Night vision

You need a dash cam that can record clear footage in all sorts of light environments, including low-light conditions or nighttime. But, not all night vision is created equal. Cheaper dash cams may not provide the detail you need to make the nighttime footage useful. Take some time before you buy

5. G-Sensor

G-Sensor or gravity sensor will detect any movement and prompt the dash cam to return important events. This feature is crucial as it automatically saves footage clips in case of an impact.

6. Parking Mode

Parking mode is parking surveillance that will keep potential culprits from harming your car or breaking in. Many dash cams offer low frame-rate time-lapse recording, and many others motion and impact detection.

7. Temperature Resistance

Some dash cams fail immediately in extreme temperatures. It is important to remember that many of the cheap dash cams do not have any special ventilation or seals to protect them from extreme heat or cold conditions. Anywhere from -10 to 50 degrees Celsius (14° to 122°F) is a good range for most parts of the world. If you live in a place that gets extremely cold such as the Northern countries, try to look for cameras with a higher cold tolerance, such as -20° Celsius (-4°F). If you live in hot climates, a camera with higher heat tolerance would be good.

8. WiFi or Wired Data Transfer

Unless you are getting a dash cam with a screen, you will need to transfer your footage files to a computer, laptop or iPhone/Android for viewing or storage. Wireless data transfer (WiFi) has become the norm over the past few years, but not all budget-friendly dash cams come with built-in WiFi. In these cases, USB data transfer is another great alternative. Alternatively, you can always insert the microSD card right into your computer or laptop to view the footage using a desktop viewer.

Can I get away with a “cheap” dash cam?

A budget-friendly dash cam is actually sufficient for most drivers. Even those who want Full HD quality images can get by with a budget-friendly model for decent results. If you are looking for a good budget-friendly dash cam, we recommend steering clear of the ultra-cheap sub-$50 models on Amazon, even if they are advertised to capture 2K or even 4K videos. The thrifty entry-level dash cam market is full of hastily put-together models whose manufacturers want to make a quick buck. To get a reliable unit that won’t fail on you in hot summers or cold winters, expect to spend at least $100.

Of course, the more features you want, the more you will have to spend. Features like Cloud-capabilities, real-time alerts, radar motion detection, collision warnings, lane departure, and red light/speed camera detection are all great features but they are not must-haves.

Is it worth paying more?

Dash cam in photo: IROAD X10 4K UHD Dual-Channel Dash Cam with OBD X-Scanner. Pre-order Bonus offer ends April 30, 2020.

It really depends on a few factors, including how often you drive and what type of conditions and weather you drive in. Generally speaking, if you are someone who spends a lot of time on the road, it might be worthwhile to invest in a higher quality dash cam. But if you’re an occasional driver, a budget dash cam will work just fine.

You will also want to consider the climate in your area. Typically, higher-quality dash cams, like the IROAD X10, can hold up extreme temperatures better. Higher quality dash cams also come with better image sensors that allows you to capture better quality footage in harsh weather and rain.

Justifying the Price Tag of a Premium Dash Camera? Find out more on High-End Dash Cams vs. Budget Dash Cams.

Conclusion

Who said you can’t get a good dash cam at an affordable price? The best cheap dash camera is sometimes all that’s needed to capture images from the road. What makes a good dash cam is often as simple as flawless user experience, and often the high quality dash cams are too advanced or complicated and it might not be worth going over budget for a few bells and whistles that you probably won’t have the time or know-now to learn to use.

But do keep in mind that many budget-friendly dash cams do not come with a memory card, and that will be an added expense. However a 32GB microSD card is quite affordable these days and that’s enough memory for several hours of recording time. And if you want parking mode recording, you will need a hardwiring kit, which is often sold separately. Most dash cams will come with a cigarette lighter adaptor, which is great for powering your dash cam as you drive, but to run the dash can after you’ve powered down the car, you will need to hook up the dash cam directly to your car’s battery using a hardwire kit. You can always pick up a hardwiring kit from our store. Not sure which one you need? Let us lend a hand!

Until next time, Stay Safe!

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Very easy to install.
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