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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 of 2019.


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 of 2019.

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 to start your journey.

Dash Cam Accessories

Want more out of your dash cam? Find an accessory that's 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.

Dash Cam Buyer's Guide | Know Before You Buy

Based on 4144 reviews
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Initial review: A-OK.

I bought this after testing out a budget Rove R2-4k LCD dash cam that sent me running for a better quality high-end unit. By that comparison standard, this DR900S-2ch is mind blowing.

Setup was particularly easy -- well, wiring can be a work-out as with all models, especially a rear-camera going into a hatch back -- but the moment I plugged it in, it all started working. I especially like the audio prompts, and the indicator light on the rear window camera; one glance in the rear view mirror and I know it's working, and yet not distracting. (the rear camera is very small)

I also love how incredibly secure the mounting is. My cheaper Rove unit mount was quite flimsy.

The power cables were also impressive -- with plugs that small, I was afraid they'd dislodge easily, but the design of the plugs are quite secure.

More time will tell, but after about two weeks now I have no complaints. I will likely buy a second 2ch unit soon.

Blackboxmycar and Viofo a129 duo

Wanting a dash cam, I started my quest by googling and youtubing. Blackboxmycar seemed to be the most popular recommendation. Visiting the website, watching their videos, reading reviews and looking thru the FAQs, I was ready and narrowed my option down too two cameras. Bewtween Jordan and Katrina, they finished my education and answered questions that I had confusion with - and they made it clear and easy to understand. The process of ordering was simple and sweet. All the way from receiving the Viofo camera, setting it up and post-purchase questions - what a great experience. Thank you! Watching the install videos made it a breeze. Its unfortunate that I do not use facebook, twitter, googlesomethanrathernutter, or else I would use those review options too. So Im glad you reached out with a web option!
I love this cam!

Happy Customer

I’m happy with their service. Professional and helpful.

Hello Becky, thank you for your review!
BBMC Experience

I began looking into dashcams about a month ago and came across a video interview between Alex and Vortex Radar. During my research it became evident that BBMC was the leading re-seller in Canada and maybe in the USA. Their pricing was competitive. I posed a few pre-purchase enquiries to BBMC. They responded quickly and in an understandable way. Ultimately, I made an on-line purchase that was delivered fast with great tracking. As it turned out, I made a mistake with my order and it was fixed without delay. Dashcam was self installed now with all wires hidden and looking good. Thanks, BBMC. You know how to provide a great on-line experience.

Hello Jeffrey, thank you for taking the time to send us a review! Enjoy your new DR900S-2CH and if you ever do need anything, don't be shy! We're always here on Live Chat as well as email (info@blackboxmycar.com). Also, don't forget to check out our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/blackboxmycardotcom) - we have tons of tutorials, guides and just-for-fun videos!
Thinkware q800pro

I am very happy with the q800pro I installed the hardwire myself in my Infiniti Q50 with the help of a few member in forum camera quality is what I was expecting I just watched my first video yesterday night I was able to see a lot in clear crisp quality have not seen night mode yet but I for sure know it’ll do great.

Thank you. Blackboxmycar watching your videos help me get my dash cam

Hello Jan, thank you for your review and thanks for watching our videos! Be sure to check our YouTube channels often - we have new videos all the time!

FREE Power Magic Pro + 32GB Memory Card

BlackVue DR900S-2CH 4K Dash Cam

great customer service ,i will be soon installed my new dash cam

Hi Ricardo, thank you for leaving a review! Hope everything works out with your install. Do let us know if you have any questions at info@blackboxmycar.com.
(BlackVue DR900S-2CH) Amazing Product & magnificent Service !

I recently purchased a Blackvue 2ch DR-900s from BlackBoxMyCar and I am very happy with this camera so far. I spoke with a representative from the live chat named Paul and he was very helpful in setting me up with everything i needed to hard wire this unit. I received my full setup in less than a week and it was packaged very nicely. I realized when i went to wire it into my vehicle the fuse taps i received were the wrong one's. So i contact BlackBoxMyCar support and spoke to Paul who i believe was the same person i spoke to the first time and he and the team @BlackBoxMyCar was very helpful and fast at responding to my messages and ensured me they would send out the correct fuse taps which i received 2 days after they were shipped out. I Would highly recommend BlackBoxMyCar for anything you need !

Hello Joseph, thank you for taking the time to send us a review and we will definitely pass it on to Paul.
Great for first timers

Pics

Hello Steven, thank you for leaving us a review!
Phenomenal Video Quality and Overall Capabilities

I finally got around to installing the Thinkware U1000 2-channel cameras and radar. Truly couldn’t be more satisfied with the result and the many options that this camera and software has to offer. Amazing video quality and great user interface. Couldn’t ask for more.

Hello EVOLVNG, thank you for sending us a review! Yes, the U1000 is a great dash cam, couldn't agree more! Enjoy and do send us some footage - we have monthly dash cam video contests: https://www.blackboxmycar.com/pages/monthly-video-contest.

Good kit to have for anyone new.

Hello Ley, thanks for the review!
World class

World class service!!! Professional and knowledge staffs!
Johnathan, u r da man! :)

Hello Johnson, thank you for the review! We passed the kind words on to Jonathan and we think you just made his day! If you ever do have any questions, you can always get a hold of Jon or any of our other dashcam experts at info@blackboxmycar.com, or better yet, Live Chat us right on our website - we're always ready to help!
Nice job

Very approachable personnel and professionally done job.
Cudos.

Thank you Dragan for the kind words. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at info@blackboxmycar.com or live chat with us directly on our website.
Overall great dash cam

I was waiting for a 4k dash cam for a while and almost convinced myself to wait for later next year. What made me pull the trigger on the U1000 was the 2K rear cam resolution. It's an upgrade from my F800PRO. I have it with the cellink neo battery for parking mode. Overall it's a great dash cam to have for my needs (mostly time lapse parking mode).

Just have 1 very small inconvenience. Sometimes I can't find the dash cam in the wifi network when I'm surrounded by a lot of houses with a lot of wifi networks. It suggests to turn off wifi direct but I never had it on. The first time I tried to set it up consisted on me turning off and on the dash cam until it appears at the top of the list of wifi networks. Now if I wanted to change a setting, I just do it at a public parking lot.

Night quality needs improvement (this is why not 5 stars). I hope they have an update to improve it.

Thank you J C for the kind words. We're glad to hear that you've decided to make the upgrade from the F800PRO to the U1000 - it's a great time to do so! We do have regular communication with Thinkware on these issues, and we will definitely bring it up with them. They constantly release new firmware for their dash cams and the app, so we're confident this issue will be squashed very quickly. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at info@blackboxmycar.com or live chat with us directly on our website.
Review of THINKWARE F800 PRO

After a extended period of research I decided on the THINKWARE F800 PRO Dash CAM. Purchased both a front and rear camera with a CPL Filter for the front camera. My car has a very sloped windshield so the glare off the dash causes distortion and blurry footage; the CPL FILTER solves this problem. Would also recommend a Samsung PRO ENDURANCE 128GB Micro SDXC memory card; more money but worth it. These cameras are expensive but the quality of the footage and cameras speak for themselves. I purchased from BLACKBOXMYCAR because Alex Jang and his company stand behind and take care of the products they sell. I hope this review will help others find a great quality product and company as I was able to find in BLACKBOXMYCAR ( and no I did not know Alex or his company before I started my research. )

Thank you Duncan for the kind words. We're glad to hear that you found everything you needed at BlackboxMyCar. Your feedback is crucial in helping us become better, so we really appreciate that you've decided to leave a review :) If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at info@blackboxmycar.com or live chat with us directly on our website.
Great service

BlackboxMyCar provided great service and a walk through of the dash cam I got installed.

The cameras were installed very cleanly and work great, and the receptionist gave me a few tips for the app and storage options in the future.

Thanks,

J-P

Thank you J-P for the kind words. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at info@blackboxmycar.com or live chat with us directly on our website.

Great job. Richmond location was very convenient. The dash cam was neatly installed. Katrina was very friendly and very helpful. Will recommend blackboxmycar to everyone I know.

Hello Mario, thanks for the review! We will definitely pass the kind note to Katrina! Do come and visit us again as we often have special deals and promos going on. We appreciate the word-of-mouth!
Reliable, small and powerful / Fiable, petit et puissant

So small and compact that you can hide it anywhere in the car. Easy to install with included accessories. Very satisfied with my purchase.
Si petit et peu encombrant que vous pouvez la cacher n'importe où dans la voiture. Facile à installer avec les accessoires inclus. Très satisfait de mon achat.

Hi Alain, thanks for the review/merci de nous donner votre avis! The iVOLT is a very popular model for that reason and we are glad it's working out great for you!
Installation of dash cam

Installation was completed on schedule. Dash cam was neatly installed and professionally done.

Hello Neil, thank you for choosing BlackboxMyCar for your installation!
Mounting Tape

Great store to find what accessories you need for your dash cam

Hello Neil, thank you for leaving us a review and we are glad to hear that you found what you need at BlackboxMyCar. Do sign up for our newsletters or follow us on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, we have amazing deals and offers on our dash cams and accessories all the time!
Installation kit

Good kit!I like the sticker♥️

Hello Ronesser, thank you for the review! By the way, we love the stickers, too!
Great company

Excellent customer service. Friendly staff

Hello Nelson, thank you for the review! We're always here for our customers!
Thinkware U1000 4K UHD Dual-Channel Cloud Dash Cam

This is the fourth dash cam I have tried and am FINALLY satisfied with the results!

The first dash cam was a single front 4K cam. This worked really well, but didn't come with the option of adding a rear dash cam (still have this).

The second one was a front camera with an inside view rear dash cam by Soliom that did a 380 degree recording view. This dash cam had decent recorded footage for the price, but would constantly freeze on me and then wouldn't record when driving. It kept on having to be reset in the middle of driving for the footage to start recording again.

The third was owlcam. This camera was convenient, but didn't work the best. It always had problems connecting and had HORRIBLE footage at night!

Lastly, I decided to spend a little more and get exactly what I wanted. I wanted a separate rear view camera because I was involved in a hit and run incident at my college which led to me trying these different dash cams. Well, I believe I have finally found the product I was looking for from a company that worked with me really well!

Jordan was very helpful in assisting me and price matching. The camera was expected to show up December 2, 2019 and I actually received it November 29, 2019. This was a pleasant surprise!

Thanks BlackboxMycar!

Hello Shawn, thanks for the review! You made a great choice with the Thinkware U1000 4K Dual-Channel - it's currently one of the best, and highest resolution dash cam systems on the market! We are glad that you were able to take advantage of our promotions and offers. Check out our website often as we will be posting a follow-up review on the U1000 as well as more articles and guides to show users how to unleash the full potential of the dash cam - it's a great dash cam!
Impressive!

Decided to purchase 2 of these during the Black Friday sale and I have to say that I am very impressed with the quality of the dashcam as well as the footage I've been able to capture. Granted, this is my first dashcam and it's only been a few days since I've installed it and ran them, but I haven't had issues with them specifically. The app is another story, but I cannot fault the dashcam for that.

I am a satisfied customer! Thank you Blackboxmycar.com for having offered the best deal I could find on the web at the time. I will keep monitoring your website for upcoming deals if I ever need anything else.

Hi James, thanks for the review! The DR900S-2CH is a great dashcam and we are happy you were able to take advantage of our Black Friday prices. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletters to receive updates on sales and deals!
Great Service

The product arrived in time and was as advertised. Very satisfied with the service as everything was handled very professionally.

Thanks for the review, Abdul! We are glad to hear that you're very satisfied with the your new dash cam and with BlackboxMyCar!