With each passing year, manufactures are looking more and more at ways to address their customer’s feedback. As a result, they produce new dash cams that specialize & target those specific needs and wants. With so many options it’s hard to decide which camera is a better choice for you. We hope to guide you through the process of finding the best dash cam for your needs with this article! Each of the recommendations in this article offer great design, video quality and value. We’ll start off with our three best value picks for 2018.
Best-Value 1-Channel Dash Cam
Budget 1-Channel dash cams are the go-to choice for many first-time dash cam buyers. Nowadays great video and build quality can be had for well under $175 if you're considering a non-parking mode device. Systems in this price range typically don't offer WiFi or parking mode functions but as far as protecting you in the event of an accident, they can be just as good as dash cams costing two or three times as much.
Our budget 1-channel dash cam pick is the VIOFO A119S V2 which offers stellar 1080P video and a sleek design at a price that many buyers will find very reasonable. The A119S V2 succeeds the A119 from last year by focusing on improving overall quality to the videos captured. There's also an option for Full HD 60 FPS recording which works great in higher speed environments such incidents on the highway. The capacitor based power supply and adhesive mounting bracket make it a good choice for hotter environments, and a factory CPL filter is available to help reduce glare as well.
VIOFO really pushed the boundaries of what was available at an entry level price point by offering high bitrate recording and GPS functions. In fact, a few of the guys at the BlackboxMyCar office have actually used VIOFO dash cams since the A119 V1 as a secondary device to complement their parking mode 2-channel setups.
Best-Value Parking Mode Dash Cam
There are certain situations where a parking mode dash cam setup can be more important than a driving-mode-only dash cam. If you were to get into an accident while driving, you might have eyewitnesses as well as the other driver's license plate or insurance details as available evidence. On the other hand, if your vehicle is parked and gets hit, you would only have proof if the other person was honest. After seeing countless customer hit and run videos, we think it's important to protect yourself with a dash cam in these scenarios.
Our pick for best-value parking mode dash cam this year is the Thinkware F100. This dash cam is simple in its execution with no screen, built-in GPS, or WiFi. Unlike our suggestion from last year, the Thinkware F50, the F100 now adds the option of adding a rear camera. The simplicity of this device has helped make it one of the most reliable devices we've ever carried as there's really not much to go wrong. That being said, we can't understate all of the great parking mode features built into this dash cam that are trickled down from the flagship F800 PRO model.
These features include: built-in voltage detection & timer cutoff, memory card partitioning, parking mode event & motion announcements, and very low power consumption to extend parking recording time. There aren't even that many higher end parking mode dash cams that offer all of these great convenience features!
Best-Value Full-Featured Dash Cam
The struggle between balancing value versus cost is especially true for dash cams. Many consumers are scanning the market, looking for an affordable unit with all of the features such as 2 channels, parking mode and wifi. These cameras offer a wide range of coverage and can be setup to record all the time which is particularly useful in hit and run situations.
Our pick for best-value full-featured dash cam goes to the BlackSys CH-100B which offers decent video quality, a user friendly WiFi app, and infinitely customizable memory card partitioning. This is the most reliable yet affordable dash cam that we would recommend and use in our own vehicles as lower end systems don't offer the video quality or convenience features we've come to expect even as far back as 2016.
It's no longer a flagship device and it lacks some of the top-of-the-line features found on more expensive 2-channel systems such as built-in GPS, cloud connectivity, and 1080P rear camera recording. That said, we've found the CH-100B fits as a good middle ground as customers won't need to spend the additional $100-150 to get features that they might not of.
Best of the Best 2018
If you simply want the best dash cam regardless of price point, these are the dash cams you should consider. To make it onto our best of the best list, these models need to score well in video quality, user friendliness, and long term reliability. Here are our picks:
Best Video Quality
The title "best video quality" goes to a dash cam that can perform well in all lighting conditions and be able to pick up details like license plates where other dash cams can't. This is not to say that the camera will flawlessly pick up these details every single time, but it might be your best bet when there's a large speed differential or when lighting is poor.
The VicoVation OPIA2 is our pick for best video quality. This high end dash cam offers so much in the way of video quality and is the benchmark that all other manufacturers should pit their products against in our opinion. To start, this camera is capable of 1440P recording at a staggering 25 Megabits per second, it's also capable of doing 1080P at 60 frames per second which is useful when another vehicle speeds past. There are 6 resolution and frame rate combinations in total to cater specifically to the user's needs.
Furthermore, VicoVation has gone and provided different firmware options to tweak the video processing sharpness to the user's preference. We found that the CPL filter option was very handy as well and unlike some other dash cams, the OPIA2 performed very well at night even with the CPL in place. Another reason we really like the OPIA2 is the versatility of its mount which essentially lets you aim the camera however you want!
Best Rideshare Dash Cam
For our customers that want a dash cam in their rideshare or limo service vehicle, good interior recording is key. A compact design is also appreciated so as to not look too intimidating for passengers. In our opinion, the best dash cam for these purposes is the BlackVue DR650S-2CH IR. While we've been tough on the regular BlackVue DR650S-2CH for only offering 720P rear video, in the IR application the 720P video quality offers great sharpness and clarity even in pitch black environments. As there's no need to pick up license plates from far away vehicles, the 720P resolution is more than adequate.
The front camera offers full HD recording featuring the Sony EXMOR CMOS sensor which performs quite well at night. The overall design of this camera is quite attractive and compact, and when you opt for our special 2 foot coaxial cable, it's a breeze to install as well. Not only that, but like any BlackVue dash cam it offers parking mode by motion detection when hardwired or paired with a battery pack.
The DR650S line features a thoroughly refined BlackVue Over the Cloud system which actually works quite well. While not all users can afford to invest in the data plan necessary to take full advantage of the cloud, we can see this being attractive for fleet service managers. This cloud feature can warn of driver speeding, impacts in driving or event mode, and allow cloud backup of selected files. It can also provide live-tracking and 2-way communication.
Best 2-Channel Flagship Dash Cam
If you are looking for the best of the best parking mode dash cams, look no further than the Thinkware F800 PRO. It is the latest and greatest from Thinkware and builds on the F800 platform. Available with an optional rear camera, the F800 PRO offers a fully featured and refined dash cam setup. The night time video quality is very impressive with the Sony STARVIS sensors (front + rear) and Ambarella A12 chipset and is among the best of the 2 channel systems.
We like to recommend this camera for parking mode recording for a few key reasons. It has the lowest energy consumption out of any Full HD + Full HD parking mode setup. It has parking mode priority in the partition settings which dedicates almost half the memory card for parking mode. And it has an incredibly discreet design so you can feel confident in leaving it in your vehicle overnight. With the pro model there are some further refinements like the all black body, 128GB card support, and Thinkware's version of a cloud feature, Thinkware Cloud. Thinkware Cloud will add features such as driving impact notifications, vehicle locator, and phone alerts should a vehicle leave a specified zone (geo fencing).
We also loved the fact that this device is very compatible for Mac and iPhone users due to the use of exFAT SD card formatting and .MP4 file formats.
After thoroughly testing all of the devices in our product range, these 6 models stood out to us as the best in their respective categories. Each manufacturer brings something a little different to the table so it's always important to consider what your needs might be. If you have specific requirements and want a personalized recommendation, feel free to contact our experienced sales team at email@example.com!