Skip to content

The Ultimate Dash Cam Buyer's Guide

Designed to Be Your One-Stop Shop For New Dash Cam Enthusiasts

New to Dash Cams? Become an Expert Here.

If you have no idea what dash cam to purchase, then this dash cam buyer's guide will have everything you will ever need to become a dash cam expert yourself. We're here to help you narrow down your choices and let you know what to look out for. These are the sort of questions we ask our customers when they contact us to point them in the right direction.

Dash cams are extremely versatile, and can be used in many different types of situations. From daily driving to driving for Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing to even fleet managers operating a fleet of commercial vehicles, there is a dash cam out there that's right for you. BlackboxMyCar covers every scenario to make sure you're protected, no matter where you are.

This buyer's guide has been updated for 2019.

Know What Features You Want? Then Come See Our Best.

Jump right into our recommendations directly with our Best Dash Cams.


Dash Cam Basics

What is a Dash Cam & Why Do I Need One?

A dash cam stands for a dashboard camera that is mounted inside the vehicle, usually on the front windshield. A dash cam, depending on the model, can do many things such as record both when the vehicle is being driven and when it’s parked, record audio, provide a connection to a smartphone app so that video can be reviewed and saved on the spot, etc.

Dash cams can come with 1-Channel (Front), 2-Channels (Front & Rear), 2-Channels (Front & Interior) or even as many as 3-channels to protect you and your vehicle. Take a read in our article to find out how many you need.

What is an IR Dash Cam & Why Do I Need One?

An IR dash cam is a dash cam with infrared lights that provide recording details under poorly-lit conditions, as well as total darkness. These are dual-channel dash cam setups with a regular front-facing unit and a secondary unit that comes with infrared lights.

The secondary unit is typically mounted to face and record the interior of the vehicle, and thus is especially recommended for rideshare users, such as for Uber and Lyft, or for commercial use, such as fleet managers.

What are the Basic Features of a Dash Cam?

The basic features of a dash cam, including its ease of use, can be important factors in the decision of purchasing a dash cam. The products we carry all do their basic jobs easily and conveniently without much work involved. This article breaks down the basic features of a dash cam, covering terms including auto-start, auto-recording, loop recording and more.

Why Consider a Premium Dash Cam?

A question that we are frequently asked is: “Why are these particular cameras so much more expensive than ones on Amazon that are priced around $100 or lower?” There are a few reasons as to why this is the case, and these reasons make a huge difference.

Learn more about premium features including designs, parking mode, smartphone integration, 4K UHD video resolution, g-force, ADAS, memory card storage and more.

Get The 'Must-Have Dash Cam Features' Checklist to Maximize Your Safety

Get the free one-page checklist delivered right to your inbox. We'll also provide you with the latest news, updates and discounts on dash cams.


Dash Cam Features

What is Parking Mode?

Parking mode recording is a feature of a dash cam that keeps your dash cam recording footage even when the vehicle is off. Typically found only in premium dash cams, parking mode provides around-the-clock protection and surveillance for the vehicle.

Remember that an accident can happen at any time, and it’s always worse when the driver is away from the vehicle without any witnesses. The ability to capture footage while parked, to prevent hit-and-runs, door dings and vandalism, can prove to be very useful.

What is Wi-Fi & GPS for Dash Cams?

The GPS and wi-fi features in a dash cam can be highly useful, and sometimes even crucial in daily use. Traditionally, only higher end premium dash cams offered these features but there are now a variety of lower-end dash cams that have these included as well. We always recommend a dash cam with these features.

What is Video Resolution?

Almost all dash cams in the market today have Full HD 1080p resolution. With prices ranging from $150-$450, actual video quality varies greatly between these dash cams. So, what exactly is 1080p and how is it different between different dash cams?

What is Form Factor?

Form factor refers to the shape and size of a dash cam. This is an important aspect to consider as it can affect the driver’s field of view as well as the amount of attention drawn from people outside the vehicle.

Dash cams are typically discreet in nature. Some are rectangular, while others are more circular. Some offer an LCD screen, while others do not and offer a phone app integration instead. Find out which one is right for you.

Should I use Adhesive or Suction Cup Mounts?

Dash cams are typically mounted on the front and rear windshields of the vehicle and come with either adhesive or suction cup mounts.

While suction cup mounts may seem convenient and easy to use, they are not recommended since they can come off the windshield easily and are much more prone to vehicle vibration, which makes video footage shaky and blurry. Almost all dash cams use adhesive mounts for good reason, as they are much more durable and reliable in the vehicle.

What are SD Cards & Storage?

When buying a dash cam system for your vehicle, many people tend to forget one hugely important item: the microSD card.

MicroSD card usage in a dash cam is so vital because some cards fail very quickly and you may lose crucial footage in case of an accident. In our experience, the best micro SD card for dash cams are high capacity cards that are Class 10 with MLC technology, which basically translate to fast download and upload cards with added durability.

What is Memory Partitioning?

Memory partitioning refers to the ability of a dash cam to separate video files based on the type of recording, so that only the same kind of files can overwrite each other. This is actually an extremely important feature, found only in premium dash cams, as it provides significantly more protection.

What is Night Vision?

This feature is a software/firmware-based processing effect on the video to boost exposure in lower exposed areas. In the sample video, you can see that the park that's on the right of the vehicle (left in the rear clips) appears a lot brighter when super night vision is turned on.

What is Impact Detection / Motion Detection / G-Sensor?

Impact and motion detection is one of the most crucial aspects of a dash cam, and typically found only in premium models. Impact detection refers to a video file being recorded when triggered by an internal, built-in G-sensor and motion detection refers to a video file being recorded when triggered by movement sensed by the video sensor.

These two features ensure that your vehicle is being protected at all times, such as when a person or vehicle pass by and, more importantly, when there is damage to your vehicle.

Download Dash Cam Firmware, Viewers & Manuals

If you are experiencing issues with your dash cam (or just purchased a new dash cam), then chances are that you may be required to perform a firmware update. Common issues include random restarts, recording errors and GPS/wi-fi issues. The good thing is that there are a lot of resources available from our manufacturers to help you troubleshoot any issues and update your firmware.

Get The 'Must-Have Dash Cam Features' Checklist to Maximize Your Safety

Get the free one-page checklist delivered right to your inbox. We'll also provide you with the latest news, updates and discounts on dash cams.

Know What Features You Want? Then Come See Our Best.

Jump right into our recommendations directly with our Best Dash Cams.

Learn About Our Dash Cam & Accessories

At BlackboxMyCar, we value the importance of buying a high quality product that will exceed your expectations. To make sure that all of our customers are well educated on their dash cam options and have accessible reliable information, we do thorough dash cam reviews and first impressions of the products we sell. Instead of letting you rely on the product description alone, we’ll give you the information you need to make a smart purchasing decision.

In our first impressions, you’ll be supplied with our expert immediate reaction to the specified dash camera. Reviews come second to our first impressions, which explain our knowledge of past products, company history, and knowledge of this new dash cam. We’ll let customers know what they should expect with this new model before we take the time to review it thoroughly ourselves.

We give our best dash cam reviews after taking some time testing the model. We provide customers with an overview of the key features of the dash cam, pros, cons, and technical specifications. Also provided are in car dash cam reviews that show real life testing of the dash cam’s filming abilities. This detailed dash cam review will make you feel like you’ve already used the camera before, and know exactly what you’re purchasing.

Ready to read up on your next dash camera? Links to our product reviews and first impressions can be found directly through our product pages. You can find them through our dash cams for sale today! If you’re looking to learn more about these products, or have other inquiries, contact us today!

Explore Our eLearning Guides

Dash Cam Buyer's Guide

New to dash cams? Try out our dash cam buyer's guide.

Dash Cam Accessories

Want more out of your dash cam? Find an accessory right for you.

Our Best Dash Cams

Make great purchasing decisions with the right dash cam for you.

Installation Guides

Let us show you how to install your own dash cam & accessories.


Got More Questions?

Not to fret, our in-house product experts are here to help. We have spent years curating helpful content and video guides, helping customers with their dash cams, but we understand that we can always do better. Contact us using the form below and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. We love what we do, because we're here to help you make the most informed purchasing decision.

Ultimate Dash Cam Buyer's Guide

Based on 4583 reviews
86%
(3921)
11%
(482)
3%
(146)
0%
(22)
0%
(12)
[Signature Bundle] BlackVue DR900S-2CH + BlackVue B-124X Review
Awesome Dash Cam
Hi Manny, we're trying our best to help our customers and keep it business as usual even during this pandemic. Thanks for leaving a review!
Solid 5 Star Camera
Hi Christian, thanks for leaving a review. You did indeed make a great choice! You can check it live when you're not in the car by connecting the BlackVue dash cam to the Cloud. You'll need a mobile hotspot to achieve this, but it's entirely possible! Ask us if you need help :)
Excellent
Thanks for leaving a review, Nina!
Awersome
Thanks for leaving a review, Lincoln!
Viofo A129 duo
Hi Firoz, thanks for shopping at BlackboxMyCar. Happy birthday to your kids, and hope they love their dash cam!
VIOFO a129 Duo
Hi Robert, thanks for shopping at BlackboxMyCar. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out!
VIOFO A129 : High Functionality at a Good Price Point
Hi Iain, thanks for leaving a detailed review. This will be helpful for other customers looking to purchase a VIOFO A129 for their Jeep vehicles. If you need anything else, don't hesitate to let us know.
Excellent quality and support
Hi Derek, thanks for your compliments. We try our best to provide all the information one needs to confidently find the right dash cam for them. Glad to see you're loving your VIOFO - let us know if you have any questions in the future.
Dash cam 4K
Hi West Dog, in the future, we do recommend contacting our team at info@blackboxmycar.com or live chat with us on our website. Our team is here to help you find the right settings based on what you need. Our team should have reached out to you directly already, but let us know you still have any questions.
Blackvue 750
Hi Edward, thanks for shopping at BlackboxMyCar. Glad to hear that the DR750 met your expectation :) Comeback any time!
Spliced cable
Hi Christopher, that's really good to hear. Glad it all worked out - thanks for leaving a review!
Scanner
Hi Christopher, awesome :) Glad you love the 1S!
Install Kit
Hi Alan, thanks for leaving a review and for shopping at BlackboxMyCar! Come back anytime if you have any further questions :)
Love my BlackVue
Hi Chris, thanks for shopping at BlackboxMyCar. Great choice on the BlackVue! Come back anytime :)
Cellink New Extended Battery Pack
Hi GB, thanks for leaving a review. If you're facing any further issues, please don't hesitate to contact our support team at info[at]blackboxmycar.com. We can help you with finding a solution for that.
Fast shipping, easy install, great HD dashcam
Hi Pete, thanks for leaving such a detailed review. This is awesome - we're so glad to hear that our team have been able to help you with everything you needed for a dash cam, and we're so grateful to hear that you've shopped with us for all of your vehicles. Please don't hesitate to come back anytime, and we hope you continue to trust us for your automotive goods. In the future if you're experiencing overheating issues, feel free to ask us directly because we can always assist you in troubleshooting a solution for it. Thanks!
VIOFO A129 from BlackBoxMyCar meets expectations
Hi Arthur, thanks for leaving a review! We do offer micro-fuse adapters on our website, so don't hesitate to ask us if you have any auto-related questions in the future. We're here to help!
Thinware q800 pro
Hi KevzBart, thanks for leaving a review. Glad you love it!
Nice dashcam for the money
Hi Mike, thank you for sharing your honest review. We're glad to hear that you've found a dash cam that's right for your vehicles, and you found them with us at BlackboxMyCar. We do love it when customers share their footage with us, so we'd love to see additional feedback from you once you've had more chances to play with your VIOFO. That said, we do want to clarify one thing regarding the battery pack, the amount of time that it takes to charge will be dependent on your vehicle's battery. For some of our customers, as long as they're driving minimum 30 mins a day, then it will be enough for them to recharge. It's especially important for customers during this time as many of them are working from home so having parking mode on for an extended period of time is important. That said, thank you for shopping at BlackboxMyCar. Do let us know if you have any questions in the future.
extra SDMini Card
Hi Alan, thanks for shopping at BlackboxMyCar!
Perfect Transaction
Thanks for shopping with us, Stephen! Glad our team was able to help you out.
Great Products, Excellent Customer Service
Hi Jose, thanks for shopping at BlackboxMyCar! The VIOFO A129 Duo has been a big seller for us, so we apologize for any delays during this time. Thanks for leaving a review!
good service and fast shipping
Hi Neil, thanks for shopping at BlackboxMyCar! The CPL filter does tend to saturate certain colours, so if you're finding that the edges of the frame are a bit darker than before, then we do recommend adjusting the brightness within the settings.
Viofo v3
Hi Kyle, sorry to hear that you had trouble with picking up your package. To clarify, you shouldn't have been required a signature during this period of COVID-19 anyways, according to this page: https://www.fedex.com/en-ca/coronavirus.html - 'Temporarily suspended for most deliveries in Canada and the U.S. A physical signature is not required for FedEx Express and FedEx Ground shipments except when an adult signature is required.' We're not sure what happened, but we're sorry to hear that this happened to you. That said, thank you for shopping at BlackboxMyCar and we're glad to hear that at the very least, you're enjoying your VIOFO!