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Best Dash Cams for Withstanding High Heat Environments

Summer’s here, and as things heat up, so does the risk of your dash cam melting. While it’s hot outside, when temperatures outside range from 80° to 100°, the internal temperature of your car can reach a scorching 130° to 172°. Since vehicles are relatively air-tight, warm air is locked inside like one big, portable oven. So yes, it’s pretty dangerous not only for your gadgets, but for the passengers as well, especially in arid states like Arizona and Florida.

Heat is a killer for tech, but thanks to innovation, modern dash cams have focused heat resistance head-on.

In this blog, we will share our top recommended dash cam models while discussing the main features that make them the coolest, literally.


Why does your dash cam need to be heat resistant?

While extreme temperatures can lead to cameras overheating and not recording until things cool down, the main concern is that the camera doesn't stop working completely. Repeated exposure to extreme temperatures can result in the camera giving out internally, the internal circuitry melting or otherwise, resulting in a camera that does not power.

High heat can cause electronic components to malfunction, leading to corrupted recordings or complete failure. Heat-resistant dash cams are designed to withstand these conditions, providing continuous protection and clear footage even on the hottest days. This durability ensures your vehicle's safety and your peace of mind, whatever the weather.

What makes the dash cam heat resistant?

We have tested hundreds of dash cams, and not all of them are heat resistant, especially those built with lithium ion batteries and other dash cams you see on Amazon. Much like how high heat is danerous for your smartphone, it's just as dangerous for other pieces of tech.

Based on our observations, there are 4 things that make a dash cam heat resistant – design, battery type, temperature range, and mounting position.

Design

Just like any other device, dash cameras will naturally generate some heat when in use, and they will also absorb some of the heat from the sun. This is why appropriate cooling vents are critical in their form factor, as they aid in regulating the temperature of the cam to a safe level, safeguarding the delicate internal components.

Some dash cams even come with cooling mechanisms and fan systems, like mini air conditioners for your device. Among the dash cams we tested, we noticed that the Thinkware U3000 has considered this thoroughly. Compared to other dash cams, the Thinkware U3000 is designed with a crossed ventilation grill design for better cooling, and we find this super efficient in heat resistance.

Units that emphasize very compact designs generally are lacking in proper ventilation, and the space for the camera to really breathe. Heat resistance and compact design? It’s a difficult balancing act.

Battery Type

Dash cams are powered by either lithium-ion batteries, or the more advanced supercapacitors.

When compared, lithium-ion batteries deliver poor results when it comes to charging and discharging speeds, and are unsafe for warmer temperatures. There are instances where the lithium-ion battery dash cam itself overheats, to the point where it started emitting smoke and potentially sparking fire inside the car. For some cases, this could be the start of a serious fire emergency on the road. Overheating, leakage, and possible explosions? You’re a step closer to experiencing these if your dash cam is still lithium-ion battery-operated.

On the other hand, supercapacitors are extremely safer to use. They do not contain highly flammable liquid combinations, so they’re less likely to explode and overheat. Moreover, they can cycle hundreds of thousands of times, whereas batteries fail after a few hundred of charging and discharging cycles. Proudly, all the dash cams available in BlackboxMyCar such as VIOFO, BlackVue, and Thinkware are already equipped with a capacitor, so when you choose any of them, you’re making a safer choice.

Temperature Range

Another consideration when choosing a dash cam is its temperature range. Dash cams are intended to perform effectively within particular temperature ranges. When used within their respective ranges, the dash cam performs as expected, offering quality video capture, dependable operation, and precise sensor readings.

If your dash cam can cover ranges like -20°C - 65°C (-4°F - 149°F) like the VIOFO A229, then it’s a great performing dash cam for both heat and cold. When most reliable dash cameras exit their respective temperature ranges, they will shut down and stop recording to preserve their system integrity. It will return to standard operation once the unit returns to normal temperatures. If temperatures exceed the temperature range too drastically or for too long, permanent damage to the unit is possible, such as internal components melting, rendering the camera inoperable.

Mounting Position

While your dash cam model is important, so is where you place it. It's preferable to keep them out of direct sunlight, we recommend installing your dash cam near the top windshield. With most windshields, the top portion is naturally tinted to protect the driver's vision, in what is known as a sun visor, ideal for reducing heat absorption. Beyond that, many vehicles have a black dot-matrix on the windshield, this is an ideal mounting location. This keeps the camera out of direct sunlight, preventing the mount from directly absorbing that heat.


Thinkware's innovative solutions

For Thinkware, reliability and performance in high temperatures is important, and they have a few unique options to handle this. First, they've started implementing a heat-blocking film with the Thinkware U3000 and Thinkware Q1000, this sits between the windshield and your camera’s adhesive, preventing the adhesive from absorbing all that heat and falling off, while dissipating the heat from your windshield. It’s applied a lot like VIOFO’s static sticker, keeping your dash cam firmly in place without risking fiery temperatures.

Thinkware doesn't stop at that, as they've also introduced Smart Parking Mode. This feature ensures that your dash cam stays active when temperatures increase, keeping your vehicle protected even when other cameras would shut down. When in this extreme temperature range, the camera will stay in a lower-powered state, before returning to normal when things cool down. This is not only featured in the Thinkware U3000 and Q1000, but also budget-friendly models like the Thinkware F70 Pro and Thinkware Q200.

Which dash cam is the best for beating the heat?

If you’re looking for something that’s reliable in the heat and focuses on the essentials without breaking the bank, the VIOFO A229 Plus Duo is a great call. As the successor to the A129 series, the A229 Plus upgrades the overall build-quality of the camera, with a stronger frame, with plenty of additional ventilation to help with heat dissipation, and even an extra heat-sink inside.

Backed up by all the core features needed in a modern dash cam including a capacitor, GPS, wifi, voice control, and impact detection, the A229 Plus is an essential add-on to any vehicle.

For us, the Thinkware U3000 is the coolest dashcam you’ll ever meet, especially when it comes to beating the heat. While its predecessor, the Thinkware U1000 has reigned as the most heat-resistant dashcam, the Thinkware U3000 has finally outperformed it with its new features.

We appreciate that the Thinkware U3000's new physical design with plenty of ventilation, included heat-blocking film, and how cool it runs, even when recording 4K image quality. Aside from these physical upgrades, it also included internal heat-resistant features such as Smart Parking Mode. 

An honourable mention goes to the BlackVue DR770X Box, due to its unique head unit, which can be kept in a more shaded environment where it isn’t directly absorbing heat from the sun. Beyond that, the head unit of the Box provides plenty of extra space and ventilation for cooling the unit, which is a large contrast to the very tight and compact design of other BlackVue models. The DR770X Box boasts a temperature range of -20°C - 80°C (-4°F - 176°F).

VIOFO A229 Plus Duo 2K QHD 2-Channel Dash Cam

Experience Sony STARVIS 2.0 Power From Front to Rear

Meet the freshest 2K+2K dash cam from VIOFO, the newly upgraded A229 Plus Duo. Boasting Sony STARVIS 2 IMX675 for its front and rear dash cams, the new A229 Plus is also equipped with the most advanced Super Night Vision 2.0, plus HDR(High Dynamic Range) to keep your footage crisper and sharper, whatever the time of the days.

Beyond clearer footage, the A229 Plus Duo also sports advanced and modern features like Voice Controls, Dual-band Wifi, and Ultra-Precise Quad-Mode GPS for a higher level of security. Best of all? Storage capacity is now upgraded up to 512GB!

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Thinkware U3000 - the Coolest Dash Cam for the Heat

Thinkware has always been top of the game when it comes to heat resistance. We appreciate that the Thinkware U3000's new physical design with plenty of ventilation, included heat-blocking film, and how cool it runs, even when recording 4K image quality. Aside from these physical upgrades, it also included internal heat-resistant features such as Smart Parking Mode. 

Backed up with 4k/2k front/rear image quality through Sony STARVIS 2 image sensors, advanced features like the cloud, and more, the U3000 is the most comprehensive camera out there.

Also available in Exclusive Signature Bundles for maximum dash cam protection. Shop yours now, only here at BlackboxMyCar!

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Haven't had enough Beat the Heat?

Check out the rest of our YouTube series, showing which cameras can and can't handle the heat.